NATO Membership ‘Pipe Dream’ for Finland
Published: July 7, 2014 (Issue # 1818)
The new Prime Minister of Finland Alexander Stubb told The Wall Street Journal that, after discussing security issues with officials in Estonia and Sweden, NATO membership remains a "pipe dream" for the country for the moment, reports Fontanka.fi. Stubb, however, has not ruled out Finland’s future membership in the military alliance.
Breaking with the tradition that the first official visit for any incoming Finnish prime minister be to Sweden, Stubb instead visited NATO member Estonia, which the politician referred to as "our good friends." Stubb discussed security issues between the two republics with Estonia’s Prime Minister Taavi Roivas where the conversation focused more on sanctions against Russia than Finland’s membership in NATO.
Stubb has previously expressed the opinion that NATO membership would improve Finland’s security, so there was no disagreement on this point between the two leaders. The Estonian prime minister believes that the latest round of potential sanctions against Russia will further strengthen security for the nations on the Baltic, though Stubb was not as categorical. The Finnish politician repeated his idea that Estonia is currently ahead of Finland in integration with the West. This applies not only to NATO membership, said the politician. Of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he said that the current Finnish government was unlikely to join the alliance.
Stubb visited Sweden on his second official visit as Prime Minister, where he met Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Stubb also raised the issue of security, but again limited the conversation to a discussion of sanctions against Russia. In comments to journalists, the Finnish politician reiterated his desire to join NATO at some point in the future.
In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Stubb summed up his position on NATO saying that while he supports the idea of Finland’s membership, he is waiting to see what the Finnish government's position will be on the subject. He said that the idea of joining NATO is not particularly popular among and remains a “pipe dream” for the country.