Finnish NATO proposal assesses effects of membership on Finland

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 4, 2022
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The cabinet of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin holds a meeting on informing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) about Finland's interest in engaging in accession talks in Helsinki, Finland, on May 17, 2022. [Photo/Finnish Prime Minister's Office handout via Xinhua]

The Finnish Government published a draft proposal on the country's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Thursday, while local media has claimed NATO membership would have a significant financial impact on Finland.

The draft proposal was prepared by a working group composed of representatives from the Office of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, among others.

The working group has assessed the relationship between the North Atlantic Treaty and Finland's Constitution, and concluded that the North Atlantic Treaty would not be a problem for Finland's sovereignty and participation in international cooperation.

The government says Finland's NATO membership could be approved by a simple majority in the parliament.

However, NATO membership will increase Finland's public spending on defense, said Finnish national broadcaster Yle in an article published on the same day.

NATO countries pay contributions for their membership in proportion, which are calculated in relation to the size of their economies. According to Yle, Finland's share of NATO co-financing would be 0.9057 percent.

Finland's contributions would be 27.4 million euros (26.7 million U.S. dollars) a year if the country became a member of NATO at the beginning of next year.

This figure will probably rise in the future, Yle said. NATO's member states decided at a summit in Madrid this summer to raise jointly financed budgets, it added.

Additional costs would come with the personnel increases and administrative changes related to NATO membership. These costs have been calculated at more than 100 million euros annually.

NATO member countries are also committed to the fact that they aim to increase defense spending to two percent of their gross domestic product. The share of Finnish defense spending this year is 1.87 percent.

According to Yle, the draft proposal does not take a position on whether nuclear weapons will be placed in Finland after accession, although the topic has been much-discussed by the public.

Currently, the Nuclear Energy Act would prevent a ship or aircraft equipped with nuclear weapons from entering Finland. (1 euro = 0.98 U.S. dollars)

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