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NCP wants permanent Nato base, female conscription

Kai Mykkänen, NCP parliamentary group chair, advocated women's conscription at the group's meeting on Tuesday, while leader Petteri Orpo said the party supports a Nato command center in Finland.

Kai Mykkänen, chair of the National Coalition Party's parliamentary group. Image: Jani Saikko / Yle

A permanent presence of Nato troops in Finland would strengthen the country's security, according to Kai Mykkänen, chair of the National Coalition Party's (NCP) parliamentary group.

At the group's meeting in Lappeenranta on Tuesday, Mykkänen further noted that Finland would get to decide what kind of Nato member it would be.

"We must become a key player on the Nato map. Do we have the national will to have a Nato base and permanent troops in Finland," Mykkänen asked.

Nato troops have frequently trained in Finland since the country submitted its membership application in May, with most recently the USS Kearsarge conducting exercises with Finnish forces in the Baltic Sea. In Mykkänen's opinion, this has improved Finland's security, adding that the country could, for example, establish a Nato command center or an Arctic center of excellence.

Russia has publicly objected to bringing Nato structures close to its borders.

"Russia's conditions must no longer be allowed to prevent us from improving our security in the future," Mykkänen commented.

According to the NCP, the issue of establishing a Nato base in Finland has not been actively discussed, and the government and opposition parties need to do so as soon as possible.

NCP leader Petteri Orpo also said that the party thinks a Nato command center in Finland would be worth actively pursuing.

More women in the army, more defence spending

Mykkänen said he supports women's conscription, and that the debate about only men joining the military had run its course.

"Every year it becomes more and more difficult to justify why the best and most willing Finns, regardless of gender, are not selected for service," Mykkänen said.

Mykkänen added that at the same time, civilian service should be rethought and its role approached differently.

Additionally, as part of its policy, the party supports raising defence spending above 2 percent of GDP, the Nato requirement for members to spend on defence.

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