AP

Finland’s Parliament gives final approval for NATO bid

Mar 1, 2023, 6:46 AM | Updated: 11:20 am

Parliament members attend the plenary session where Finnish Parliament voted on Finland's accession...

Parliament members attend the plenary session where Finnish Parliament voted on Finland's accession to NATO in Helsinki, Finland, Wednesday March 1, 2023. Finnish parliament said yes to Nato, with 184 parliament members voting yes and seven members voting no. One voted empty and seven members were not at the session. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

(Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s Parliament gave final approval Wednesday to the Nordic country’s bid to join NATO, with lawmakers signing off on membership along with the required legislation.

The 200-seat Eduskunta legislature voted 184-7 to authorize Finland’s accession to NATO, clearing the last required domestic hurdle to becoming part of the 30-member Western military alliance.

Two of NATO’s 30 existing members, Turkey and Hungary, have yet to ratify the joint application Finland and neighboring Sweden made last year. Admitting new members requires unanimous approval.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s center-left government initiated the vote, seeking to secure the approval of her country’s lawmakers before an April 2 general election.

President Sauli Niinisto has pledged to sign Wednesday’s legislative decisions into law before the election.

Finland and Sweden, which are close partners culturally, economically and politically, applied together to join NATO in May 2022. Their bid is historic as Finland has remained military non-aligned since World War II, and Sweden has not been in a military conflict in the past 200 years.

Most of the opposition to accepting Finland and Sweden as new NATO members comes from Turkey, which wants stronger action, mostly from Sweden, against groups that Ankara considers as terrorist organizations.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Wednesday that Sweden needs a law which forbids participation in terrorist organizations — a move considered important for Turkey to sign off on Sweden’s NATO application.

“For far too long, Sweden has had too lax legislation regarding the possibility of participating in terrorist activities without it being a crime,” Swedish news agency TT quoted Kristersson as saying.

Such a law is expected to be take effect by June 1, TT reported.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday in Helsinki that adding Finland and Sweden as members was “a top priority” for the alliance. He urged Turkey and Hungary to ratify the Nordic countries’ accession.

Turkey has agreed to resume talks with Finland and Sweden in Brussels this month to iron out obstacles and issues that Ankara has, especially with Sweden.

Meanwhile, Hungary’s parliament was scheduled to start debating the Nordic duo’s NATO membership on Wednesday, with expected ratification at the end of March.

A senior Hungarian lawmaker said last week that Hungary was planning to send a delegation to Finland and Sweden to resolve “political disputes” that have raised doubts among some Hungarian lawmakers of whether to support their NATO bids.

___ Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

12 hours ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

13 hours ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

1 day ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

2 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

3 days ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Finland’s Parliament gives final approval for NATO bid