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Estonian PM promises "lightning quick" ratification if Finland submits Nato application

Prime Minister Sanna Marin met her Estonian counterpart Kaja Kallas in Tallinn on Monday. Finland's debate on Nato membership was on the agenda.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in Estonia on March 7, 2022. Image: Raul Mee / Lehtikuva

Should Finland decide to apply for Nato membership, Estonia will ratify accession "at lightning speed," Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said at a press briefing with Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP), Monday afternoon. All Nato countries must ratify applications from potential new members.

Marin and Kallas met in Estonia on Monday to discuss, among other things, the security situation in Europe and cooperation on topical EU issues.

"Russia has changed from a difficult neighbour to a pariah state, [and] we must be ready to ensure the security of our region in this new situation," Kallas said.

She added that Estonia is following the Nato debate that is taking place in Finland.

“We can confirm that it would be a good choice, but of course it is up to the Finnish people to decide. Finland and Sweden's accession would strengthen Nato, but I believe it would strengthen Finland and Sweden's own security as well,” Kallas said.

Marin responded that although there is no acute military threat to Finland at the moment, the security situation has changed significantly due to Russia's actions. It has also changed the mindset of the Finnish people regarding Nato.

"Currently we are considering how this discussion should be held, as this decision would affect the Finnish Defence Forces, our security more broadly as well as the economy," she said.

The Finnish PM assured that there will be a thorough debate in Parliament on Finland's security issues.

"We are discussing our security policy thoroughly, though it need not take long, and that includes Nato," said Marin.

Although Russian Foreign Ministry information director Maria Zakharovarecently threatened "military and political consequences" against Finland and Sweden if they attempted to become Nato members, Kallas does not believe that joining Nato would increase the threat of war in Finland.

"Even if Russia says that joining Nato would be a provocation, Russia is only looking for excuses. Ukraine did not provoke Russia in any way, and still this war is going on,” said Kallas.

When Marin was asked about the significance of President Sauli Niinistö's recent meeting with US President Joe Biden, the PM emphasised collaboration with neighbouring countries and allies like the United States, along with Finland’s close partnership with Nato.

"It’s important to look at all the ways to make our environment as secure as possible and we are looking for ways to make our cooperation even deeper, including within the EU. If the EU is strong, it can also be a strong partner with Nato. I see no conflict of interest there," said Marin.

At their Monday meeting, the ministers discussed a report on how Finland and Estonia could deepen cooperation, in areas such as the economy and the green transition, which has been jointly commissioned by the two governments over the past year.

"Estonia and Finland must work to reduce energy dependence on Russia," Kallas said.

Marin underlined the special relationship between Finland and Estonia and its importance for energy security as European countries move away from Russian fossil fuels.

"We have a lot in common and there are many areas where we can work together," said Marin.