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Kokoomus.fi / Articles / Uncategorized / The National Coalition Party’s answers to Nato questions

The National Coali­tion Party’s answers to Nato ques­tions

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What is the posi­tion of the National Coali­tion Party towards NATO?

  • The posi­tion of the National Coali­tion Party is clear: we are ready to make Finland a member state of NATO. We are work­ing actively towards this objec­tive. Russia’s offen­sive high­lights the current rele­vance of NATO member­ship, but for us it’s not only a ques­tion of reac­tions to the imme­di­ate situ­a­tion, but of a long-term choice. Finland is a Euro­pean state that must have a Euro­pean defence solu­tion. We’ve stood behind this posi­tion for a full 16 years. 

Why should Finland join NATO?

  • NATO member­ship would improve our secu­rity and strengthen our defence. Through member­ship, Finland would fall within the scope of NATO’s secu­rity guar­an­tees and a poten­tial attacker would have to take into account that Finland would have the support of the whole alliance’s mili­tary power and, ulti­mately, the shield of nuclear weapons. In addi­tion to this, through NATO member­ship Finland’s possi­bil­i­ties to influ­ence ques­tions that are impor­tant in terms of global secu­rity would grow. 

Why is the issue current right now?

  • Finland’s secu­rity envi­ron­ment has changed rapidly in a worse direc­tion through Russia’s offen­sive. The ques­tion is one of a more wide­spread war and the most seri­ous secu­rity policy crisis in Europe since World War II. The impacts are also reflected in Finland and the Nordic coun­tries. Finland is not being subjected to a mili­tary threat just now, but Russia has become a mili­tary threat to us as well in a more appar­ent way than before. Russia’s attack into Ukraine shows that Putin does not ulti­mately respect the mili­tary non-aligned­ness of states and reasons for waging war against others can be invented, even based on blatant lies. In Finland, it must now be decided how we can best ensure our secu­rity and prevent the aris­ing of mili­tary crises. A mili­tary alliance is one of the key solu­tions.

Is Finland welcome to become a member of NATO?

  • From NATO’s perspec­tive, Finland would be a desir­able member state that creates secu­rity, rather than eating away at it. Finland’s involve­ment would stabilise North­ern Europe, because from NATO’s point of view we are a miss­ing defence link in the area between the Arctic region and the Baltic Sea. In addi­tion to our loca­tion, our capac­i­ties would comple­ment NATO, partic­u­larly through the strength of our land and air forces. NATO has empha­sised an open-door policy towards Finland and Sweden with regard to member­ship.

What will happen to the NATO option?

  • Talk­ing about the NATO option is no longer cred­i­ble. Util­is­ing the option has previ­ously been linked to a rapid change in our secu­rity envi­ron­ment or Russia seeing the EU as an enemy like NATO. Now both of these have come true, in addi­tion to which Russia has defined Finland, along with the whole of the EU, as a hostile coun­try from its point of view. Arms deliv­er­ies by the West are also inter­preted as hostile actions in Russia. So we are more and more appar­ently a part of the enemy picture seen by Russia, and in this kind of devel­op­ment Finland should anchor itself more strongly as a part of west­ern defence solu­tions. For that reason, it’s time to utilise the option.

Is Finland in a hurry?

  • We are ready to make Finland a member state of NATO and will push for member­ship in Parlia­ment. Under­stand­ably, the situ­a­tion, which has changed quickly, has put many parties before a new set of circum­stances. Time and room must be allowed for consid­er­a­tion, but at the same time it must be under­stood that we also can’t wait too long in the prevail­ing situ­a­tion. History shows how impor­tant it is to know how to seize situ­a­tions that open up in a purpose­ful manner.
  • Our secu­rity envi­ron­ment has changed perma­nently, but now it’s time for conclu­sions. The key ques­tion for us is the secur­ing and defend­ing of Finland’s secu­rity policy posi­tion. Russia has become a mili­tary threat to us as well in a more appar­ent way than before. In Finland, it must now be decided how we can best ensure our secu­rity and prevent the aris­ing of mili­tary crises. A mili­tary alliance is one of the big ques­tions.

What options does Finland have?

  • Very solid justi­fi­ca­tions should be found for stay­ing outside NATO so that it would be the right solu­tion from our point of view. Being non-aligned does not auto­mat­i­cally mean better secu­rity. Return­ing to the option policy is no longer possi­ble. In prac­tice, Finland is facing a ‘now or never’ choice with regard to member­ship. If Finland rejected NATO member­ship even after the attack by Russia, this would send the wrong message to Moscow. Our passiv­ity could, in the worst case, be inter­preted as timo­rous­ness. We don’t want to give this kind of outward impres­sion of ourselves and we can’t now afford to leave any kinds of gaps or room for inter­pre­ta­tion in Finland’s secu­rity policy posi­tion. So if Finland does not apply for NATO member­ship, clear ratio­nales should be presented for the deci­sion, as well as a vision of an alter­na­tive policy that would ensure our secu­rity in the future.

How will the deci­sion on apply­ing for member­ship be made in Finland?

  • The ques­tion regard­ing Finland’s NATO member­ship will come before Parlia­ment in the next few weeks when the Govern­ment produces a report about the secu­rity situ­a­tion. Parties have now largely recog­nised the facts – the secu­rity envi­ron­ment has changed. The next step is active action. The change requires robust deci­sions. The National Coali­tion Party wants that these deci­sions are also made. We can’t be left in limbo. In the opin­ion of the National Coali­tion Party, the report and parlia­men­tary process should lead to a proposal regard­ing member­ship from the Govern­ment and the Pres­i­dent of the repub­lic. Parlia­ment will make the final deci­sion on submit­ting a member­ship appli­ca­tion.

How would the member­ship process proceed?

  • NATO makes its deci­sion unan­i­mously. In that case, Finland must have discus­sions with all the member states before­hand and secure their support. NATO has empha­sised an open-door policy towards Finland and Sweden.
  • If Finland applied for NATO member­ship, member nego­ti­a­tions would take place next, where the parties could present terms and member suit­abil­ity would be gone through. In Finland’s case, its stable democ­racy and mili­tary compat­i­bil­ity mean that it meets the formal crite­ria.
  • Gener­ally, the appli­ca­tion process takes from a few months to a year. Due to Finland’s NATO compat­i­bil­ity, and taking the secu­rity situ­a­tion into account, the process would prob­a­bly be shorter than normal. Some kind of fast track might come into play, but a lot would depend on the member states. Finland’s appli­ca­tion would have to be rati­fied in all the parlia­ments of NATO’s member states.
  • If all of NATO’s member states approved Finland’s appli­ca­tion, Finland would be sent an invi­ta­tion to join NATO. The instru­ment of rati­fi­ca­tion would be presented through a proposal by the Govern­ment for the approval of the Parlia­ment, after which its rati­fi­ca­tion would be decided on by the Pres­i­dent of the repub­lic.

Should Finland apply for member­ship together with Sweden?

  • It would be worth making the NATO appli­ca­tion together with Sweden. In that case, Finland would have to coor­di­nate the steps in advance with them. The simul­tane­ity would bundle the secu­rity of the coun­tries together for the period of the process in a way that Finland would also bene­fit from. However, Finland needs to make the deci­sion from its own start­ing points and also be prepared to apply for member­ship alone.

Should a refer­en­dum on NATO be held in Finland?

  • NATO requires an appli­cant coun­try to demon­strate a suffi­cient level of national support for member­ship. However, it’s up to the appli­cant coun­try to decide how this is measured and NATO does not require a refer­en­dum from an appli­cant coun­try. The right place to measure the support of the major­ity of Finns for NATO member­ship is the Parlia­ment elected by the people. Many opin­ion polls after Russia’s attack also indi­cate that a major­ity of the popu­la­tion has turned in favour of NATO member­ship.

What kind of mili­tary support would NATO give Finland?

  • The great­est added value provided by NATO would be the support of the alliance in a crisis situ­a­tion. NATO’s Arti­cle 5, i.e. the collec­tive defence commit­ment, means that an attack on one member state is to be seen as an attack on the whole of NATO. This serves as a deter­rent to aggres­sive states. Finland would enter the sphere of NATO’s regional defence plans, in accor­dance with which other member states would get prepared to support Finland. These plans would also be main­tained and prac­tised regu­larly.
  • The mili­tary support given to Finland would depend on the crisis situ­a­tion, but could, for exam­ple, be intel­li­gence and situ­a­tional picture infor­ma­tion, mate­r­ial and secured logis­tics support, mili­tary support in the form of troops for differ­ent branches of the defence forces, missile defence support and the nuclear weapon deter­rent.

What would member­ship mean for Finland’s secu­rity policy?

  • The biggest change would be enter­ing the sphere of NATO’s secu­rity guar­an­tees. In prac­tice, changes would be mostly tech­ni­cal, but also to do with secu­rity policy in a wider sense. Above all, for Finland member­ship would be about the harmon­is­ing of defence together with NATO, as a part of protect­ing North­ern Europe. In addi­tion to that, there would be a global grasp on Finland’s secu­rity policy that would be stronger and more bind­ing than now, partic­u­larly in the long term. 
  • The issue being that the secu­rity ques­tions of NATO’s south­ern member states would also come more strongly to the fore in a geograph­i­cal sense, and espe­cially with a longer view, also possi­bly ques­tions related to China. So, the profile of Finland’s secu­rity policy would inevitably become diver­si­fied within NATO. In other words, NATO member­ship would call for Finland’s prepared­nesses to be devel­oped, also outside the borders of our coun­try. Finland has, however, already partic­i­pated in many NATO-led oper­a­tions outside its borders, for exam­ple in Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan. In addi­tion, we have decades of expe­ri­ence of inter­na­tional crisis manage­ment.

What effects will member­ship have on Finland’s national defence?

  • Finland would still decide itself on the prin­ci­ples accord­ing to which mili­tary national defence is realised. Even as a NATO member, Finnish profes­sional soldiers and reservists would still be respon­si­ble for the defence of Finland, so univer­sal mili­tary service would retain its prin­ci­pal role.
  • The border and airspace of Finland would become a part of NATO’s corre­spond­ing ones. Despite this, the moni­tor­ing and ensur­ing of the terri­to­r­ial invi­o­la­bil­ity of Finland would still be the respon­si­bil­ity of the defence forces. Finland would allow NATO to use the air and sea situ­a­tional pictures produced by its national systems, and vice versa.

Will conscripts be sent abroad?

  • Conscripts and reservists would not be sent to NATO’s oper­a­tions outside the borders of Finland, but instead profes­sional soldiers or volun­teer reservists would be used for this, as has been done up to now in crisis manage­ment oper­a­tions. In prin­ci­ple, Finland’s resources would be at its own disposal.

What kind of member model would Finland have? 

  • It’s in Finland’s inter­ests to fully partic­i­pate in discus­sion about the member­ship model and defence plan­ning with­out precon­di­tions. It’s justi­fied that Finland does not have to, for exam­ple, permit nuclear weapons on its terri­tory. Instead, we should not cate­gor­i­cally refuse when it comes to NATO troops or bases, but keep the possi­bil­i­ties open.

How would Finnish troops partic­i­pate in NATO’s oper­a­tions?

  • Finnish troops would always partic­i­pate in NATO’s oper­a­tions accord­ing to need, not auto­mat­i­cally. One possi­bil­ity might be partic­i­pat­ing in NATO’s EFP activ­ity in the Baltic states with a small invest­ment. Finland would take part in crisis manage­ment outside the NATO area as before.

What would be the costs and effects of member­ship on the expen­di­ture of the state?

  • Accord­ing to esti­mates, the NATO costs would be approx­i­mately 50 million euros per year. This would consist of payments to NATO’s mutual annual budgets and person­nel expenses. Addi­tional expenses could come from NATO’s multi­na­tional perfor­mance projects that Finland could take part in.
  • The NATO coun­tries have an objec­tive to keep defence spend­ing at a level of two percent of GDP. Finland meets this require­ment through the HX project, but natu­rally member­ship would also require this defence spend­ing level to be kept up in the long term.

What effects would member­ship have on Finland’s foreign policy and right to self-deter­mi­na­tion?

  • Finland’s right to self-deter­mi­na­tion would remain as strong as it is now. NATO is a polit­i­cal alliance where deci­sions are made in accor­dance with a prin­ci­ple of unanim­ity. In this case, Finland would prob­a­bly work in close coop­er­a­tion partic­u­larly with the Nordic coun­tries and Baltic states, just as in the EU. Finland’s empha­sis would strongly be on defend­ing neigh­bour­ing areas and in that, in oper­a­tions as per Arti­cle 5.
  • Our Russia policy would merge more closely with that of the rest of the West. However, NATO’s poli­cies towards Russia are in prac­tice iden­ti­cal to those of the EU, so in this sense, even in NATO, Finland’s Russia policy would not really change. 

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