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SDP leader: Nato membership would require referendum

Social Democratic Party chair, Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen, says she sees no need for Finland to join Nato, but if a decision on the issue is needed, it should be settled through a referendum.

Jutta Urpilainen. Image: Tuija Veirto / Yle

Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, who chairs the National Coalition Party, recently announced that he is in favour of Nato membership. Membership has the backing of the National Coalition and the Swedish People's Party. Recently, Heidi Hautala of the Greens also said that her party may reconsider its position against membership in light of the Ukraine crisis.  

According to the head of the SDP, Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen, the crisis in Ukraine and events in Crimea have not changed Finland's position on Nato membership.

In an interview with Yle, Urpilainen expressed the view that Finland's present policy is clear and she expressed the hope that all the members of the cabinet will publically defend it.

"Otherwise, it could give rise to the impression that it is a bit unclear what the government's position is. It is known that we are collectively bound to not applying for Nato membership during the term of this parliament," she said.

Urpilainen added that Finland can develop defense cooperation with the Nordic countries and other EU member states, but the question of membership in Nato should be decided by a referendum.

"I see no need for Finland's membership in Nato. If, at some time the matter becomes current, then in my opinion this question should also be settled through a referendum," Urpilainen told Yle.

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