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On 19 January, the Defence Committee of Parliament gave its statement (PuVL 15/2022) on the government proposal on Finland's accession to NATO. The Committee took a position in favour of NATO membership already in the spring in connection with the government reports on changes in the security environment. Its recent statement focuses on practical issues.
The Committee emphasizes Parliament's right to information and participation in NATO decision-making.
"In NATO decision-making, cooperation between the Parliament, the Government and the President is emphasized. As the highest state body, Parliament's participation in NATO affairs must be ensured. It is particularly important to secure Parliament's influence opportunities in the early stages of NATO membership, because the line of action to be adopted now will largely determine how Parliament is practically informed about various NATO issues", says Defence Committee Chairperson Antti Häkkänen (National Coalition Party Parliamentary Group).
The Committee considers it natural that Finland's more detailed NATO role is outlined through foreign and security policy reports and defence reports.
The Committee notes that the role of international defence cooperation in Finland's defence policy will change significantly with accession. After the realization of Finland's NATO membership, military cooperation outside of the alliance's structures aims chiefly at a more effective implementation of common defence.
The Committee points out that through cooperation, alternatives are also created in the event that NATO's operations during a conflict should slow down for some reason. With defence cooperation, it is possible to seek solutions tailored to the needs of certain states and country groups without the rigidity inevitably associated with the operation of the entire alliance.
"From Finland's point of view, further development of defence cooperation, especially with the Nordic countries, the United States, Great Britain, France and Germany, is essential," says Häkkänen.
In the spring, The Committee stated that NATO membership would be the best solution for Finland's security.
"NATO membership would significantly raise the deterrence of being the target of Russian aggression and would guarantee, in a crisis situation, the strengthening of Finland's own national defence capability with the alliance's significant military resources," the Committee wrote at the time (PuVL 3/2022 vp).
In the accession discussions held in the spring and summer, Finland confirmed its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty in full and without preconditions. The Defence Committee still sees no need for preconditions.
The Defence Committee's statement on the government's proposal to approve and implement the North Atlantic Treaty and the Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, National Representatives and International Staff will next go to the Foreign Affairs Committee, which will prepare a report on the matter.
The representative of the Left Alliance in the Committee left his dissenting opinion in the statement.
Read more about the parliamentary consideration of the government proposal on Finland's accession to NATO.
Read more about the two government reports on the changes in the security environment.