Skip to content

Niinistö: Nato membership would be the "most sufficient" security for Finland

In the latest of a series of interviews on possible Nato membership, the president seemed to suggest that the benefits would outweigh the downsides.

Sauli Niinistö.
Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle
Yle News

President Sauli Niinistö says it is clear that possible Finnish membership in Nato would permanently increase tensions with Russia along the two countries' border.

Interviewed on Yle TV1 on Saturday, Niinistö said the greatest benefit of Nato membership would be "gaining a preventive effect". On the other hand, there would be a risk of various types of Russian retaliation, including hybrid threats, he said.

However he seemed to suggest that the benefits would outweigh the possible negative ramifications.

In his view, it is most important to consider solutions that increase Finland's security.

"Sufficient security is where Finns can feel that there is no emergency and there won't be one," he said, adding that joining the alliance would provide the "most sufficient" security.

According to Niinistö, another essential benefit would be related to Finland's image as a safe country. It would support the Finnish business community and investments in the country, for example, he said.

Niinistö emphasised that it is up to Parliament to decide on a membership application – and that it is crucial that political decision-makers and the public be aware of the various possible consequences of joining the military alliance. He added that it would be good for Finland's MPs and citizens to prepare in advance for Russian countermeasures if the country applies to join Nato.

Surveys indicate that support for joining the alliance has risen sharply in Finland since Russia's attack on Ukraine, just over a month ago.

"Nato's door is open"

Niinistö said that Finnish officials have discussed a possible application with several key Nato member states, and have been told that Nato's door is open to Finland.

In the past week, Niinistö has made several statements about Nato. He told commercial broadcaster MTV that his personal stance on the question was "quite clear" but that he would not announce it until after a free, thorough debate on the issue in Parliament.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the president suggested that deeper defence co-operation with the United States and Sweden might be an alternative to joining Nato.

Latest: paketissa on 10 artikkelia