A big step towards NATO. The Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has announced its support for a candidacy of the Nordic country to the Atlantic Alliance, which must be formalized on Sunday. Of the 60 members of the party’s leadership, 53 voted for, 5 against and two abstained, according to the result of the vote announced at a press conference in Helsinki on Saturday May 14.

Finland’s candidacy must be formalized on Sunday by the executive, before a meeting of Parliament on Monday and the formal sending of its candidacy to NATO headquarters in Brussels in the coming days. The end of Finland’s military neutrality would be a “error”, has already warned the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, during a telephone conversation with his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö. Russia also suspended its electricity deliveries to its Scandinavian neighbor on Saturday.

Sweden could follow

Sweden must also decide in the next few days on a probable candidacy. A key meeting of the Social Democratic Party in power, Sunday in Stockholm, must remove the last obstacle before the announcement of an application for membership. “We hope to be able to send our applications this week, together with Sweden. They have their own process but I hope we will make the decisions at the same time”said Sanna Marin during the press conference.

The Prime Minister had already spoken on Thursday in favor of joining “without delay” of Finland to the Atlantic Alliance, together with President Sauli Niinistö, and the decision of the SDP was no longer in doubt. The Finnish leader, however, welcomed a consultation process “open”or “all important players are included”.

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