Updated Mar 1, 2023, 8:37am EST

Finnish Parliament passes NATO bill

Lehtikuva/Heikki Saukkomaa

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The News

Finland’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining NATO on Wednesday, nine months after first submitting an application to the defense alliance with neighboring Sweden.

Both Sweden and Finland, which shares the longest European Union border with Russia at 1,340-kilometres (830 miles), applied to join NATO in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

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Know More

Lawmakers in Helsinki approved a bill affirming that Finland accepts the terms of the NATO treaty — with 184 votes in favor of ratification and seven against.

This latest move brings Finland closer to NATO entry, but it still awaits approval from Turkey and Hungary: New NATO entrants must be approved by all existing members of the military alliance.

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Step Back

Lawmakers in Finland held their vote early so that the domestic procedure would be complete before parliament goes on recess ahead of the April 2 general election.


Several NATO countries have urged for Finland and Sweden to be accepted into the alliance before its mid-July summit in Vilnius.

On a visit to Helsinki Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that “the time has come to finalize the ratification process” both in Budapest and in Ankara.

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The View From Turkey and Hungary

Turkey was initially against the accession of both countries but has since narrowed its resistance to Sweden. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has previously criticized Sweden for protecting people he considers “members of terrorist groups,” Reuters reported.

Hungary has also acknowledged that it has been resistant to NATO’s expansion plans due to the bloc’s backing of the European Union’s suspension of $30 billion in funding and criticism of the country’s rule of law.

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  • “The reason why we have applied for NATO membership is very simple — the NATO line is the only line Russia wouldn’t cross,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said to reporters on Tuesday.