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Home NATIONALRussia’s role in Ukraine pushes Finland, Sweden closer to NATO: Haglund
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Sun, 18 May, 2014 03:34:47 AM
FTimes-STT Report, May 18
 
Defence minister Carl Haglund was speaking at RKP conference in Hanko on Saturday. Photo Lehtikuva.
Defence Minister Carl Haglund on Saturday said Finland and Sweden are now closer to NATO than ever before.
 
Russia’s actions in Ukraine have pushed the two Nordic neighbours closer to NATO, he said at the conference of the Suomen Ruotsalainen Kansanpuolue (Swedish People’s Party of Finland-RKP) in Hanko.
 
The minister said, “It is completely understandable that Finland has made some conclusions following the situation in Ukraine.”
 
Haglund, also chief of the RKP, however, said that reaching a calculation based on the Ukraine situation is too early at the moment as the crisis is yet to over.
 
“This is a bit of a paradox that Russia’s actions have pushed Finland and Sweden closer to NATO than ever before,” he said in his inaugural speech at the party conference.
 
The parliamentary parties in Sweden in the past week estimated that Russia’s great power aspirations influence strongly the security of Europe. The parties desired a closer cooperation with NATO.
 
File Photo-AFP Lehtikuva.
In Finland, the Parliamentary Commission will release its assessment of the baseline of defence policy in late summer, said the minister, adding that he would like to see the NATO debate to continue until next spring’s parliamentary elections.
 
Earlier, on May 13, the heads of Finnish political parties expressed support for continuing the non-alliance stance in the country’s foreign security and defence policy and said the Ukraine crisis has not changed the position on need for NATO membership.
 
Although the outgoing Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, who is looking for a post in the European Commission, supports that Finland should join NATO, not a single party chairperson raised a hand when asked about the issue during a discussion with MTV and the Federation of Finnish Financial Services.
 
 
 
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