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Finnish President: possible accession to NATO to be put up for referendum

February 28, 2015, 15:09 UTC+3 HELSINKI
Саули Ниинисто expressed hope that the new Finnish government that comes to power after parliamentary election in April will not include in its program the point on excluding accession to NATO
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HELSINKI, February 28. /TASS/. The issue of Finland’s possible accession to NATO will be put up for referendum, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told the media on Saturday.

"We had a referendum on [Finland’s] accession to the EU. In this case, we are talking about the issue of a similar scale," Niinisto said.

He expressed hope that the new Finnish government that comes to power after parliamentary election in April will not include in its program the point on excluding accession to NATO. "In any case, I hope it [the new government] will not exclude the possibility altogether," the president noted.

The incumbent authorities’ program includes a point that states that Finland will not file for accession to NATO in the period of the current government’s service.

On Friday, Niiniste told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the situation in Finland shows that the country’s accession to NATO will not happen any time soon.

"The latest public opinion poll showed that only 26% of Finns are for accession to NATO, while 43% are against. To make such a decision, we also need at least two-thirds of votes in the parliament. These are facts. Moreover, the current situation shows that many people in the West are saying that filing for accession [to NATO] now is not very wise," the president concluded.

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