Skip to content

New defense minister neutral on Nato

Finland’s newly-minted Defense Minister Carl Haglund says he supports Finland’s participation in Nato-led surveillance of Iceland's airspace.

Carl Haglund vieraili Ylen Aamu-tv:ssä tiistaina. Image: Yle

"In principle I'm very supportive of the mission, though some legalities must be ironed out before we can make a decision," Haglund told reporters on Thursday.

Iceland is a member of Nato, but does not have its own defense forces. Previously, national defense was provided by the United States.

According to the Finnish Defense Minister, Finland would closely follow neighbouring and non-Nato member Sweden’s lead on the issue.

Opposition parties have said joint Nordic patrolling of Iceland's airspace is intended to ease Finland into Nato.

"I'm neither fervently opposed nor in favour of the military alliance," said Haglund. "Nato is still on the table but no decision to join will be made during the current government's term in office."

Thirty-three year-old Haglund was exempted from Finland’s mandatory military service for health reasons. But the Defense Minister has assured critics that his lack of army training will not prevent him from succeeding in his new post.

Haglund has been a member of the European Parliament since 2009. He is the youngest-ever chair of the small Swedish People’s Party, which represents Finland's Swedish-speaking minority.