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Niinistö: Cooperation in Iceland no change in defence policy

President Sauli Niinistö told YLE on Saturday that Finland's possible participation in patrolling Iceland's airspace would not mark a change in the nation's defence policy line.

Image: Elina Bäckman / Yle

"I don't see that the defence policy line of the republic would change, if there is an examination of being involved in three weeks of monitoring [Iceland's] airspace in 2015," said President Niinistö.

He also denied the assessment presented by some critics that NATO is hiding behind a veil of Nordic cooperation.

"The framework calls for three weeks of operations, but a lot still has to be examined before a final decision is made," the President pointed out.

According to Niinistö, there is "nearly complete agreement" that defence policy cooperation should be upgraded among the Nordic countries.

"There is also rather broad consensus that there should be closer cooperation in this respect with the other European Union members, if at all possible. But in this, there has been movement forward in the Nordic dimension," said President Niinistö.

Backing for euthanasia

During the interview, President Niinistö also voiced support for euthanasia. He said that during his active career as a lawyer he saw up close how a person who no longer has the strength to suffer, still has to suffer, and that in his mind, it is a hard place to be.

Niinistö did stress, however, that any legislation governing euthanasia should be on the highest ethical level.

The Green League recently approved a position moderately in favour of euthanasia. Highly critical responses on the issue have been heard from within the Christian Democratic Party and the Finns Party.