President Niinistö at the summit: NATO’s doors remain open

President Sauli Niinistö talked about the NATO summit that began Wednesday. He said the atmosphere at the start of the summit was encouraging.

A common communique has been adopted, which was the purpose of the first meeting. It was unanimously accepted in its original form, including the 4 x 30 principle, Iraqi education, and the important principle for Finland to keep the doors of NATO open. All these have been confirmed, President Niinistö told Finnish journalists in Brussels.

He noted that « kind transatlantic words » have been exchanged.

When asked about what parts in the summit communiqué were most relevant to Finland, he noted the enlargement of the defence. He thinks it is quite important that the open doors principle was clearly confirmed.

The debate on the level of defense budget apparently avoided significantly higher percentages of NATO’s present 2% GDP target. Mr Niinistö did not want to dramatize the situation and reminded that various figures had been suggested in the past too.

The consensus among the heads of Ssate and NATO on the key lines of the defense cooperation was not clear in all cases. The insecurity was particularly influenced by the dissatisfaction expressed by President Donald Trump with the economic burden sharing of the NATO members.

President Niinistö had bilateral discussions with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and was present at the dinner of the Nato leaders. He also attended the meeting discussing the Afghanistan Resolute Support.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that, according to President Niinistö, NATO sent a united message to Russia from the summit.

Mr Niinistö said that Finland and NATO have a well-developed partnership that they will further develop. Also, Finnish government has reached the position that the country is open to the possibility of applying for NATO membership. He thought that these two facts already added up to quite a lot.

Mr Niinistö said he not support the idea of Finland’s NATO membership « at the moment ». The reason is not in NATO. Finland must very carefully deliberate and strive to maximize the stability in the Baltic region, he justified his position.

Media:  Helsingin Sanomat,
Date: 12.7.2018
Journalist: Heikki Hakala
Main source:

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