Finland increasingly close to NATO: Prime Minister's party says yes to candidacy (Update)

Of the 60 members of the party’s leadership, 53 voted for, 5 against and two abstained, according to the result of the vote announced at a press conference in Helsinki.

Finland’s candidacy must be formalized on Sunday by the executive, before a meeting of Parliament on Monday and the formal sending of its candidacy to NATO headquarters in Brussels in the coming days.

Sweden must also decide in the next few days on a probable candidacy. A key meeting of the ruling Social Democratic Party on Sunday in Stockholm must remove the last obstacle before announcing an application for membership.

“We hope to be able to send our candidatures this week, together with Sweden. They have their own process but I hope that we will take the decisions at the same time”, affirmed Ms Marin during the press conference.

The Prime Minister had already spoken on Thursday in favor of Finland joining the alliance “without delay”, together with President Sauli Niinist√∂, and the party’s decision was no longer in doubt.

The Finnish leader, however, welcomed an “open” consultation process, where “all important players are included”.

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