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'No problem' with NATO target – POLITICO

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Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told POLITICO on Thursday that she does not expect Hungary and Turkey to block her country’s NATO membership, but warned of the risks of delaying membership.

Hungary and Turkey are the only NATO countries that have not yet ratified Finland’s accession to the alliance – a process that runs parallel to Sweden shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to POLITICO in Brussels ahead of the EU leaders’ summit, Marin said he hopes both countries’ applications will be approved “as soon as possible”. She said she met with Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I have spoken to both Prime Minister Orbán and President Erdogan about the situation, and we know that there should be no problems in Finland and our practice,” the Finnish leader said.

It is very important that Helsinki and Stockholm join the alliance, because we share the same security environment in the north.

Turkey, Sweden, and Finland signed an agreement in June that would pave the way for the two Scandinavian countries to join NATO and address Turkey’s concerns about the countries’ alleged support for Kurdish groups. But Erdogan has since reiterated his threat to block the countries’ membership, telling the Turkish parliament earlier this month that his government is monitoring whether the promises made by Helsinki and Stockholm are kept.

Marin emphasized the importance of fast access.

“It would be very important for the ratification process to go smoothly, because of course there may be some elements when it comes to the security environment,” he said, noting that Finland, like Ukraine, is one of Russia’s neighbors. neighbors.

“There is no military threat facing Finland and we have good capabilities to defend our country,” said the Finnish prime minister.

However, he added, “it will be very important that we do not take any risks, the approval process will go as smoothly and quickly as possible.”

“Avoiding risks, minimizing risks – I think that’s important for everyone,” said Marin.

In the process of building a fence over Finland The Finnish leader said the project is also an effort to reduce risk.

A fence can minimize risk when it comes to “hybrid threats, such as using immigrants as a tool to influence another country’s policies or security environment,” he said, and also highlighted a longer-term need for a “well-to-do” border with Russia. organized, under surveillance, under control.”

At a time when European policymakers are increasingly concerned about hybrid threats from Russia, Marin underlined his support for greater strategic autonomy.

“I think we have to be prepared for everything, not only in Finland, but also in Europe.”

“One of the most important issues is technologies,” he said. Pointing to Russia’s use of “energy as a weapon”, Marin said, “We need to learn from this war,” and warned that Europe should not be dependent on authoritarian regimes.

The prime minister also urged close cooperation with democratic allies around the world, while recognizing that in the future Europe may need to depend less on the United States as a security provider.

Asked about the possible impact of the upcoming US midterm elections, Marin said he had spoken to members of both the Democratic and Republican parties about Ukraine.

“I understand that they agree on helping Ukraine,” he said, “and I’m sure they will continue to help Ukraine.”

But the prime minister said Europe needs to be better prepared to help defend the region.

“This is really important [the] The US is involved, they support Ukraine, they provide weapons – we’re in trouble if they don’t,” he said. “But in the future, we have to make sure we’re not dependent.”

“We should not count on someone to always be there to help Europe,” the Finnish leader said. “We have to be stronger.”