In his New Year’s address, President Sauli Niinistö focused on four themes: pandemic, security policy, climate change and issues related to youth policy.
Niinistö also commented on the crisis that has been building up around Ukraine for several months and stressed that the Cold War era is over. As he emphasized, the concept of “spheres of influence” in the present world is outdated.
– Every time the shape of geopolitics changes, the effects are also felt by countries smaller than great powers. Sometimes, especially because of them, he noted.
Referring to the Russian ultimatum on further “NATO expansion eastward”, the president called on the European Union to adopt a more proactive stance and not just “listen”.
– The sovereignty of several Member States, including Sweden and Finland, has been called into question from outside the EU. This makes the EU a involved party. The EU cannot stop at being the technical coordinator of sanctions, he stressed.
Finland in NATO?
Niinistö stated that Finland may apply for membership of the North Atlantic Alliance.
“Finland’s room for maneuver and freedom of choice also include the possibility of military adaptation and applying for NATO membership if we so choose,” he said.
Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland, made a similar statement.
– Finland retains the option to apply for NATO membership – said the head of the government. “We should uphold this freedom of choice and make sure it remains a reality, as the ability to decide about one’s own security policy is the exclusive right of each country,” she added.
Marin stated that Finland will intensify cooperation in the field of security and defense in Europe.
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