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APN podcast: Will Finland join Nato?

We also catch up with two foreigners in Finland as they search for candidates to vote for in Sunday's county council election.

Photo of a Finnish soldier taking aim during an exercise, featuring the All Points North podcast logo. Image: Kasper Heimolehto / Yle

Will Finland join Nato? This week's All points North takes stock of the debate. After months of discussion, and diplomacy from political leaders, Finland's attachment to the so-called 'Nato option' is clear.

That is the idea that Finland can decide for itself whether or not it joins the military alliance. The issue bubbled to the surface on Wednesday when Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said that she did not envisage an application to join Nato in the near future.

US President Joe Biden said later on Wednesday that an application to join Nato from Finland would be the 'last thing' Russia needs.

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here, via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or on your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Article continues after audio.

APN asked researcher Matti Pesu why Finnish politicians find it so difficult to advocate openly for Nato membership.

"Public opinion is still critical, and politicians may fear that if they portray Nato in positive terms, or more frankly advocate for Nato membership, their voters may punish them," said Pesu, who added that politicians could if they wished influence views among the public if they so desired.

In the end, it boils down to a cautious attitude to making big changes in Finland's relationship with Russia.

Election compass journeys

We also looked at this Sunday's election, with voters in much of Finland heading to the polls to elect new county councils.

APN listeners Andrew Baxter and Wasiq Silan answered questions in Yle's election compass (siirryt toiseen palveluun) to try and see whether it helped them figure out who to vote for.

Up until now it has been a bit of a struggle.

"I have tried to engage in conversations about the regional elections with my friends and people I know, but it has been hard to have good conversations, " said Wasiq. But I am very enthusiastic and I try to write on social media in mandarin Chinese, to engage more people in Finland using this language, but it has been very challenging. I will not give up!"

Get involved!

This week's show was presented by Egan Richardson and Zena Iovino, produced by Mark B. Odom and the audio engineer was Laura Koso.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at yle.news@yle.fi and allpointsnorth@yle.fi.

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