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Home NATIONALNo change likely in foreign policy, NATO issue: Stubb
Thu, 19 Jun, 2014 12:08:30 AM
FTimes-STT Report, June 19
Mini-government negotiations on at the Government Palace in Helsinki on Wednesday. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Prime minister designate Alexander Stubb on Wednesday said he does not believe that there will be a new formulation on the country’s foreign policy and the issue of NATO membership.
The country’s foreign and security policy is grounded in continuity, said the premier-in-waiting, reiterating that the mini-government negotiations have been going well.
He, however, said the matter has not been discussed yet. “There is always a variety of proposals and forms on the table in these types of discussions. Some of them are right while others are wrong,” remarked Stubb.
Earlier on June 14, addressing the convention of the ruling Kansallinen Kokoomus (National Coalition Party) before the vote, Stubb said, if elected, he would have to convince both the nation’s leadership and the people about application for joining the NATO.
The debate on Finland’s stance on application for NATO membership has continued in the country in recent years.
On June 9, the debate on whether the country should seek NATO membership surged ahead at Kultaranta, the presidential summer retreat during a two-day foreign and security policy debate hosted by President Sauli Niinistö.
The Board of Directors of the negotiations leader Alexander Stubb tells of the negotiation process to the media outside the Government Palace on Wednesday. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Those in favour of applying for the military alliance justified membership on the security guarantee it offers. The NATO proponents argued that a NATO country has never been attacked.
Those opposed to seeking NATO membership pointed out that security cannot be assured by becoming a member of the alliance. They argued that the military alliance has not been tested in its history.
On June 5, a survey conducted by the Savon Sanomat, a Finnish-language newspaper said the majority of the lawmakers are not ardent to apply for NATO membership.
Slightly over one-fifth of the 115 respondents out of the 200 legislators interviewed were in favour of joining NATO in the next parliamentary term. Two-thirds of the respondents opposed applying for joining the military alliance.
Earlier on June 5, President Niinistö said Finland has more options with regards to its security policy than necessarily seeking alignment or joining the military alliance NATO.
Speaking at a meeting of an association of editors-in-chief in Helsinki, the president emphasised the need for the country’s developing its own defence cooperation, despite the fact that many EU states are members of the NATO alliance.
On May 31, Niinistö said a detailed review should take place before taking any decision regarding Finland’s stance on joining NATO.
Speaking at the Yle Ykkösaamu (Yle morning breakfast programme), the president also said that the issue should be put to a national consensus through public voting before taking any decision.
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 the need for NATO membership, although the immediate past Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen spoke in favour of joining NATO. 
Meanwhile, Stubb, who is leading the mini-government negotiations, on Wednesday hoped that the outcome of the talks could materialise no later than Thursday.
Stubb did not say anything on the stimulus package to boost employment and spur economic growth.
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