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Marin in Germany: Finland discussing security guarantees with major allies

Prime Minister Marin said that Finland and Sweden are closely coordinating their parallel decisions on Nato membership.

Sanna Marin, Olaf Scholz och magdalena Andersson håller presskonferens bakom var sitt podie i blåsiga förhållanden. I bakgrunden ländernas flaggor.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson in Germany on Tuesday. Image: CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/All Over Press
Yle News

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) and her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson held a second day of talks with host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz near Berlin on Tuesday.

The war in Ukraine and the two Nordic countries' pending Nato decisions dominated the talks and the three-way press conference.

In her comments at the eighteenth-century Schloss Meseberg, Marin said that the timing of the meeting was "perfect", as Finland and Sweden are making significant decisions regarding their security policy. Marin said the discussions had been confidential and unique.

"No going back"

"We share the same security environment, and our choices are interdependent," Marin said.

"The Russian attack has completely changed the security environment," she added. "There is no going back."

Marin further noted that Russia is seeking a world based around power-centred spheres of interests.

According to Marin, Russia has made it clear that it does not respect the European security architecture or international law, but is instead trying to dictate others' decisions.

She said that Finland appreciated Germany's leadership in the EU's unified response to Russia, and added that the sanctions are already having an effect, but must be expanded.

"German leadership is now more important than ever," she told the press conference.

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"Nato's open-door policy more important"

"Nato's open-door policy has become even more important for all of us," Marin said.

German Chancellor Scholz said that Germany would support Finland and Sweden if they decided to join the alliance.

"If these two countries decide they should join the Nato alliance then they can count on our support," Scholz said after hosting the Swedish and Finnish leaders.

Marin noted that the Finnish Parliament is deciding whether the country will apply for Nato membership or continue on its present path. As of last autumn, the government described Finland as "a militarily non-aligned state which maintains a credible national defence capability".

Marin said that her SDP party will announce its stance on the issue on 14 May.

Nearly all the other parties in Parliament have already backed a membership application, with the exception of the SDP and their governing coalition partners the Left Alliance.

Finnish leaders have expressed the hope that Finland and Sweden could make their decision in tandem, possibly later this month. Marin said she has been in constant contact with Andersson, a fellow Social Democrat, to coordinate the parallel processes in the neighbouring countries.

"Our direction is hopefully the same, and I hope we will work on the same schedule as much as possible," she said.

The other three Nordic countries – Denmark, Iceland and Norway – have long been Nato members.

Speaking to Finnish reporters after the meeting, Marin said that Finland has been carrying on an active dialogue with major countries regarding possible security guarantees to cover the period between a possible application and full Nato membership.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) has estimated that this period could last from four months to a year. Marin declined to speculate on what such guarantees might entail.

Marin said that Finland is preparing for various options in terms of Russia's reactions to a possible Nato application.

"We must not allow such threats to influence our decisions," she said.

From Berlin, Marin heads to Copenhagen to meet with other Nordic premiers at a summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

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15.40: More comments added.

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