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Haavisto upbeat about Nato bid process

So far, 24 countries out of 30 Nato member states have approved membership for Finland and Sweden. All the others, besides Turkey, have signalled that they intend to do so.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) was interviewed on the Yle current events programme Ykkösaamu on Saturday. Image: Sakari Piippo / Yle

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) said that he has confidence in the progress of Nato negotiations with Turkey. Haavisto said on Yle's current events programme on Saturday that there have been constructive discussions between applicant countries Finland and Sweden and Ankara, which has been slowing their bid.

Official negotiations resumed last week in Vantaa, the first such talks since the Nato summit in Madrid in late June. The next official meeting is planned for October.

Completing the Nato membership process is the most important issue for Finnish foreign affairs administration this autumn, said Haavisto.

Haavisto said that he maintains constant contact with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the issue.

So far, 24 countries out of 30 Nato member states have approved membership for Finland and Sweden. All the others, besides Turkey, have signalled that they intend to do so. Membership requires unanimous consent from all members.

Stricter line on Russian visas working as intended

According to Haavisto, Finland's stricter approach to tourist visas for Russians is working as intended. Since the beginning of September, Finland has been limiting the processing of Russian tourist visas to about 10 percent of the previous level.

Haavisto noted that tourism from Russia – including using Finland as a transit country after direct flights were cut – increased strongly in July after travel restrictions due to coronavirus were lifted.

Last week the foreign minister that the European Union had taken a step "in the right direction" by freezing a 2007 agreement that made it easier for Russians to enter the bloc. Haavisto predicted that the EU may consider tougher visa restrictions this autumn.

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