NATO a touchy subject in Finland

natoLast week, Finland’s Minister of Defence, Jyri Hakamies, spoke out in public, voicing his support for Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO. The speech, according to the Finnish news agency, STT, earned him criticism from the Centre Party secretary Jarmo Korhonen, but the Finnish Europe minister, Astrid Thors, says that blasting the defence minister for his opinions was unacceptable.

According to Ms. Thors, Mr Hakamies expressed in his speech a sense of powerful cooperation from Nordic countries, making Mr. Korhonen’s criticism “alien in a government where a good atmosphere of trust prevails”.

“In order to clarify security policy though we need people to shed light on why the so-called NATO option is important,” Ms Thors said. “It is most regrettable that certain political quarters are now in the process of excluding that option for a very long time indeed without allowing room for debate.”

In an interview with the Finnish Broadcasting Company last Sunday, Mr. Korhonen, said that the speech by the defence minister was not in line with the government’s stance on NATO.

“The only occasion in which new government programmes are drafted is government negotiations, but even that would require the toppling of the government,” Mr Korhonen said in the interview.