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Sweden signs Nato request, Finland formally endorses move

While Sweden signed the Nato request on Tuesday, Finland’s parliament has formally endorsed the move.

Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, top right, attends the meeting of the Finnish Government in Helsinki (Photo: AP)

Finland’s Parliament has overwhelmingly endorsed a bid from the Nordic country’s government to join Nato.

Lawmakers in the 200-seat Eduskunta legislature voted 188-8 Tuesday to approve Finland seeking membership in the 30-member Western military alliance.

The vote was seen as a formality as Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced the intention on Sunday, and lawmakers’ approval wasn’t necessarily required. However, both Niniisto and Marin stressed that it was important for Parliament to weigh in on the Nato bid, described by the Finnish head of state as “historic.”

READ | Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the man who thought Nato would come

Finland is now expected to sign a formal application and file it at Nato headquarters in the coming days together with Nordic neighbour Sweden, where the government announced a similar Nato bid on Monday.

If Finland joins Nato, it will be the biggest defence and security policy shift in the history of the nation of 5.5 million since World War II, after which the country adopted a policy of military nonalignment and neutrality. Finland, which shares a long border with Russia, fought two wars against Moscow during World War II and lost about 10 per cent of its territory.

READ | Russia warns Finland NATO membership would ‘negatively effect’ relations

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