ATHENS – Greece’s Foreign Ministry has reportedly rebuffed speculative reports about wanting to veto any potential hopes by Finland – which borders Russia – to join NATO, worrying Russia’s invasions of Ukraine puts Finland at risk.
The site EURACTIV, citing unnamed sources in the ministry, said that Greece’s New Democracy government denied wanting to prevent Finland from joining NATO, no reason given why it would not want the country in.
There’s been no formal application from Finland but officials there were said to be anxious that the country is in jeopardy either way – with an emboldened Russia making a pre-emptive move to prevent it from joining NATO as was done with Ukraine after the defense alliance dangled hopes of being a member.
But without joining NATO, Finland still could be a target as it would, like Ukraine, be without the benefit of the alliance’s rule that an attack on one country would draw a response from the other, 29 for now.
But the former Soviet states in The Baltics who are in NATO – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – were said to be anxious that if Russia tried to retake them that the alliance would look the other way, critics saying it would essentially dissolve.
The sources told the site that Greece – which didn’t veto a newly-renamed North Macedonia joining NATO after Greece’s former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA gave away the name of the ancient Greek province of Macedonia – wouldn’t stand in the way of any country.
The issue came up when Finish media reported on “rumours” that Turkey, Greece and Hungary could stand in the way of Finland’s application for NATO membership, the site said.
In an interview, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said she was not aware of any NATO members having reservations over Finland wanting to join and that Finnish diplomats were visiting European capitals to sound out support.
Several national parties in Finland said they would back an application and Finance minister and Centre Party Chair Annika Saarikko told broadcaster YLE she’s ready with a “mandate to make the decisions on Finland’s security”.
According to NATO rules, there must be unanimity among the 30 member states to send an invitation to a third country to join the Alliance and in February NATO leaders said Finland and Sweden could participate in enhanced intelligence-sharing and strategic communications due to Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.