"Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay," Niinistro and Marin stated on Thursday.
On Thursday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin issued a joint statement whereby they supported the idea of Finland applying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
"During this spring, an important discussion on Finland's possible NATO membership has taken place. Time has been needed to let Parliament and the whole society establish their stands on the matter. We have wanted to give the discussion the space it required," they recalled.
"Now that the moment of decision-making is near, we state our equal views, also for information to the parliamentary groups and parties."
"NATO membership would strengthen Finland's security... Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay. We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days," Niinistro and Marin stated.
The United States sent a large amount of equipment to Finland for an exercise called "Arrow22", which takes place from May 2 to 13, 2022.— The Rage ❌ | Conflict News (@THERAGEX) May 9, 2022
It is reported that this military equipment will remain in the country after the exercises before Finland joins NATO. pic.twitter.com/lnDkqX07ad
Finnish foreign affairs and security policies are jointly managed by the president and the cabinet. A formal decision would have to be made by the president and the cabinet ministerial committee for foreign and security policy in a joint meeting.
In reaction to Niinistro and Marin's joint statement, NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg hailed the willingness of Finnish leaders, vowing that “if Finland decides to apply, it would be very welcome in NATO and the membership process would go smoothly and quickly.”
On Wednesday, Parliament's Defense Committee concluded NATO was "the best option" for Finland's security. Currently, at least 190 out of 200 Finnish lawmakers appear to support their country's NATO membership.