The Center Party Council met in Vaasa on Saturday to outline the NATO issue. The HS asked the three participants to open their thoughts on possible NATO membership and the decision of the Center.
Center met in Vaasa on Saturday to outline the NATO issue. Party Council blessed unanimously after a brief discussion chairman Annika Saarikon requested a mandate for the state leadership to make the necessary security policy decisions, thus also promoting the application for NATO membership if desired.
There were few anti-NATO voices in the hall or in the hallways of the conference hotel.
Read more: There was no gravel in the NATO message from the Center – Applying for membership now seems to be approaching almost inevitably
The HS asked the three participants to open their thoughts on possible NATO membership and the decision of the Center.
“If and when something happens, we’ll be there first”
The party commissioner representing the center of North Karelia Anna Vauhkonen The NATO debate got thoughtful on Saturday.
Heinävesi is based in Eastern Finland, and Russia’s reactions to Finland’s possible NATO membership could be felt in everyday life.
“If and when something happens, we will be there first. When we always talk about war being far away. Now it is so close, so of course it is hoped that we can live and be at peace, ”Vauhkonen said.
He used to be neutral about NATO, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February changed ideas.
“Yes, I am turning to NATO positivity,” Vauhkonen described.
He said he was thinking mainly about the consequences of a possible membership.
“What if it happens that Russia is attacking Finland because we are in favor of NATO? How fast do we get help from others? That’s what honestly makes me think and doubts. ”
Downtown at the party council meeting, many centrists seemed to feel that applying for NATO membership would not be a difficult decision for the party in the current security policy situation.
The Center’s position on NATO has been negative, but for a long time it has included the possibility to apply for membership when the situation changes, many emphasized.
And now the situation has changed.
“This is perhaps mind-boggling [enemmän kuin vaikeaa]. The proximity of the war will become more concrete than before as we have this discussion, ”Vauhkonen said.
“We have always known that if the situation changes, it must be re-evaluated.”
When the downtown youth president Aleksi Sandroos spoke to the party council on saturday, he described the situation as historic.
It is not customary for the party leadership to be empowered to make decisions as it sees fit.
Now Sandroos supported Saarikko’s proposal on the matter.
“We do not give mandates to the party leadership, for example, we are always involved in decision-making. But this situation is so exceptional, ”he said after his speech.
Sandroos believed that in a difficult situation, the state leadership has the best knowledge of the security policy situation, as it should be. It is therefore right that it assesses what is best for Finland’s security.
As an organization, downtown youth has so far opposed NATO membership. It is due to reconsider its line in May.
Sandroos himself said he was already leaning towards NATO membership. He estimates that membership would eliminate the risk of Russia invading Finland.
“I think so [jäsenyys] may be necessary in this situation. If there is such information that it is the best way to keep the peace, then it is definitely worth considering. ”
For him, the decision is not particularly difficult for the city center.
“There has been as strong support for NATO in the center as there has been opposition to NATO. We have always known that if the situation changes, then it will have to be re-evaluated, ”he said.
“We have seen that the situation has changed and people now want to act on it.”
“It is quite surprising that this debate is so unanimous.”
An authorized representative from Muhos, Northern Ostrobothnia Katri Hyvärinen also gave support on Saturday to the mandate requested by Saarikko.
He believed that party ministers and MPs would be able to outline the NATO issue on the basis of the best information.
Hyvärinen’s own neutral NATO position turned positive with the Russian invasion.
“Yes, I think we could join NATO. However, the situation is so serious that I feel that help is needed from other countries as well, ”he said.
Of course, it is still wondering how Russia would react to the decision.
“It’s quite surprising that this is so unanimous this discussion,” Hyvärinen said.
“However, there has been anti-NATO party over the years and there has been a desire to nurture relations with Russia. At the moment, it seems that those relationships cannot be nurtured. ”
Correction at 19.38: In the previous version of the story, it was written that the three interviewees were members of the party council. Sandroos, chairman of the Center Youth, is a member of the party board and thus has the right to speak in the party council.
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