Finland's highly-anticipated decision over whether to join Nato took a step closer to the alliance on Tuesday, as Parliament's Defence Committee said it supported such a move.
The committee noted that joining Nato would be the best solution for Finland's national security. The debate over Finland becoming a member of the alliance quickly heated up following Russia's attack on Ukraine, a country which does not belong to Nato.
The committee's chair, MP Petteri Orpo (NCP), said Finland's own defence capabilities have a good foundation, but were not adequate to address the changed security situation following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
A total of 10 parliamentary committees are expected to give their opinions about Finland's possible Nato membership to the Foreign Affairs Committee, which will then draw up a report. However, the defence committee's stance carries particular weight.
In a statement, the committee said that while the performance of the Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) is good and the country's defence has been developed over decades, Finland is still a small country unable to provide an adequate deterrent to possible threats.
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It further noted that while Finland has engaged in extensive bilateral and multilateral defence cooperation, participating in those activities does not include security guarantees. The statement added that it was also unclear what kind of assistance the country would receive from current partners in a crisis situation.
Finland is currently a partner to Nato — not a fully-fledged member — and not covered under Article 5, which proposes that an attack against one member is considered an attack against all.
The defence committee said that Finland's Nato membership would significantly increase the likelihood of being subject to military influence from Russia.
However, it also said that joining Nato would ensure the strengthening of Finland's defence capabilities in the event of a crisis, with help from the alliance's "significant military capabilities," and would also significantly improve the country's security of supply of military equipment.
One committee member from the Left Alliance expressed a dissenting opinion on joining Nato, according to the body's statement.