“In the fast-paced world, it is more valuable than ever to know when to hurry, and when to have patience”, I said in my New Year’s speech. This spring, we have succeeded well in following this principle in Finland. Together, we have both made haste and shown patience. The Finnish democracy has displayed its unique power.
All the time, our highest priority has been to ensure Finland’s security. It has required determined and swift moves. It has also required time and cool-headed deliberation.
The time to make the decision has come. I stated my own stand on the matter with the Prime Minister earlier today: Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay.
Through NATO membership, Finland maximises its own security. It is without detriment to anyone, it is not targeted against anyone. As a member of the alliance, Finland naturally bears its own share of the responsibility for the whole community’s security.
But geography remains the same, even for a NATO member. Russia is and continues to be Finland’s neighbouring country. We must be able to address practical issues with it even in the future. The NATO country Norway has succeeded in doing so.
As a member of NATO, Finland will not grow any bigger than it is. Determination does not always mean seeking a spectacle. Our constructive approach is appreciated.
The NATO membership will further deepen the Nordic connection. In the future, alongside well-being, democracy and human rights, the Nordic model will also become more strongly recognised for its security-based thinking. The Nordic Countries are strong and stable, and they bear their responsibility. It will contribute to building stability not only in the Nordics but also in the Baltic countries and the whole Baltic Sea area.
We are facing a historic turning point. However, not everything will change with NATO membership. Even in the future, Finland’s security will remain the highest priority of our foreign and security policy.