Finland to Sign Memorandum on NATO AssistanceDefense | April 23, 2014, Wednesday // 12:23| views
Finnish Minister of Defense Carl Haglund said Finland's decision is not a step toward joining NATO. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Finland is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with NATO, under which it will be able to receive assistance from foreign forces.
The country's Defense Minister Carl Haglund was however ruled out that it could join the alliance.
According to Finnish broadcaster YLE's website, the Memorandum of Understanding resembles a military interoperability deal.
It enables participation of armed forces in joint drills, but also enhances Finland's ability to receive assistance "from other EU countries, the Nordic countries and NATO countries".
Erkki Tuomoja, Finland's Foreign Minister, explained the deal was not a politically binding document and still awaits approval from the President, as well as from security and defense experts.
Sweden, which is neither a member of NATO, has signed a similar deal allowing interaction of its military forces with those of the alliance.
A recent national poll has shown that only one in three Finns is ready to join NATO.
Tensions are on the rise in Northern Europe as Sweden announced Tuesday it was boosting defense expenditures due to a perceived threat from Russia.
NATO countries earlier approved measures to step up the defense of the alliance's eastern flank, including the Baltic countries and the Black Sea region.
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