Referendum to join NATO not required – EU leader — Analysis
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto asserts that polls have already shown public support for US-led military bloc
Finland’s president, who borders Russia, believes that the overwhelming support shown for NATO in recent opinion polls may open the door to the US-led military bloc, without the need for a referendum. The attitude of the Finns towards NATO membership took a U-turn following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“NATO needs to know that there is popular support. We already have that, in my view,”On Wednesday, Sauli Niinisto informed Yle.
He said that the positive polls would mean the country doesn’t need to hold a referendum about joining the bloc, if the supermajority of the parliament supports it.
A poll conducted by Yle found that Finland’s support for NATO membership reached a record 62% this month. Helsingin Saomat released this week a poll that showed 61% support for their country joining the bloc.
This indicates a complete reversal of public opinion after the Russian attack on Ukraine – according to Yle, previous polls showed that Finns were against NATO membership.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Saturday that Moscow’s actions in Ukraine forced Helsinki to reexamine its security policy, and a decision on NATO must be made this spring. “Russia is not the neighbor we thought it was,”She stated. These countries share a land border of 1,340 kilometers (832 miles).
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol (German and French-brokered) was created to normalize the status within Ukraine’s regions.
Russia demanded Ukraine now declare it a neutral state and that it will not join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.
This story can be shared on social media