The Finnish parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of the country’s application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The parliament adopted the position in accordance with the Foreign Affairs Committee report. The vote was favored by 188 of the total 200 lawmakers. Eight members objected, while three were absent.
The committee had agreed with the government position that Finland must apply for membership of NATO “to strengthen its security.”
“The Committee emphasises that Finland’s accession is not directed against anyone, but it would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, it is still important to continue active diplomacy and a foreign and security policy that promotes stability,” it said in a statement.
Earlier, the country’s president and prime minister had announced their support for the country’s accession to the transatlantic alliance.
The vote comes a day after Sweden also decided to formally apply for NATO membership.
For decades, Finland – along with Sweden – took a neutral foreign policy posture in the region, but the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that started on Feb. 24 triggered a shift in their approach, with both the public and most politicians favoring joining the NATO alliance.
With the parliament’s approval, the Finnish government is expected to submit its application to NATO headquarters in Brussels in the coming days.
Moscow has repeatedly warned the move would have destabilizing consequences for security in Europe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow “does not have a problem” with Sweden or Finland, but that “the expansion of military infrastructure onto this territory will certainly provoke our response.”