Finland Shouldn't Rule Out NATO Membership, PM SaysDefense | March 6, 2015, Friday // 09:08| views
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb (L) meets NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) at the Prime Minister`s official residence, Helsinki, Finland, March 05, 2015.
Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb has argued the next government in Helsinki should bear in mind the option to seek NATO membership.
Upon taking office last year after the resignation of Jyrki Katainen, Stubb had ruled out any prospect that his cabinet might take such a step, even though some media reports suggested otherwise.
Meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, the PM added: “I do not see Finnish NATO membership in the near future.”
Having a large border with Russia, Finland has been neutral since the World War Two and has been willing to join neither the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nor the Warsaw Pact.
But in 2014 increased activities of Russia in the Baltic Sea region gave incentives to a renewed public debate as to whether Helsinki should aspire for NATO membership.
In an opinion poll quoted by YLE broadcaster's English-language version, 57% of respondents are against Finland joining NATO, while 27% support the move.
The survey published by prominent daily Helsingin Sanomat however adds an increased number of people now perceive Russia as a growing threat, with 21 percent completely agreeing and 40% agreeing "somewhat".
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