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FM Haavisto: "No exact dates" for Nato decision but Finland, Sweden could announce within same week

The minister's comments come as Helsingin Sanomat reports Finland is likely to make a decision on Nato by late May.

Pekka Haavisto puhuu.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) speaking to Parliament. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle
Yle News

Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said on Tuesday that it is possible Finland and Sweden could announce their decisions about whether or not to join Nato simultaneously, or within a matter of weeks or even days of each other.

"It would be beneficial for Finland and Sweden if we went through this process at the same time, but both countries must still make their own decisions here," Haavisto said, adding that the process must proceed in both countries without outside interference or pressure.

He further noted that the matter is currently in the hands of Parliament and no exact dates for a decision can be given until MPs have concluded their discussions.

Haavisto refused to confirm media reports that Finland and Sweden were planning to both submit applications to join Nato on the same day in the middle of next month.

"Now that Sweden has brought forward its own parliamentary process, it is possible that decisions on accession, if any, will take place on the same day or at least the same week. But of course there is no agreement or coordination between the two countries, and we will keep each other informed about how the processes are moving," Haavisto said.

HS: Nato decision by late May

The foreign minister's comments come after Helsingin Sanomat reported earlier on Tuesday that Finland will announce its decision about whether or not to submit an application to join the Nato alliance before the end of May, but not before then.

Citing sources, HS also noted that Sweden may announce its own Nato decision at around the same time, as "Finland and Sweden discuss the Nato process almost daily".

This follows a report by tabloid Iltalehti on Monday that Sweden had "suggested the two countries indicate their willingness to join" on the same day.

However, according to HS' sources, Finland has not slowed down its own process, over perceptions that Sweden is lagging behind in the decisions involved, despite that political leaders in both countries have noted the benefits of moving in parallel through the decision-making process.

The two Nordic nations have also not agreed on a joint application period, HS noted.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said before a meeting with her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm earlier this month that Finland would likely make a decision on Nato membership "within weeks, not months".

Haavisto: No changes to Åland position

Also on Tuesday afternoon, Haavisto said there are currently no planned changes to the position of Åland, a demilitarised autonomous archipelago province off the south-west coast of the Finnish mainland.

"Åland's agreements will be adhered to," he said.

His comments follow a report on Sunday by Etelä-Suomen Sanomat (ESS) that Speaker of Parliament Matti Vanhanen (Cen) said he hoped Åland will take an initiative to deploy Finnish troops in the province.

Vanhanen later clarified his comments, saying that he has not heard serious discussion about a desire to station troops on Åland.

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