Ukraine’s place is in NATO and also in the EU, elected Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo told the press after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s surprise visit to Helsinki on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy met with Orpo who chaired a meeting to form a new government on the very same day. Zelenskyy also met with Finnish President Niinistö and the incumbent prime ministers of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland.
Orpo is currently the leader of the Finnish centre-right National Coalition Party (Kok) and a speaker of parliament.
“In the long term, Ukraine’s place is in NATO and the West, and also in the European Union. We have to look very carefully at the progress towards NATO membership,” Orpo told the media, adding that “this is something that needs to be discussed very carefully with the foreign policy leadership in Finland, but also with NATO allies, very carefully, but the direction is clear.”
According to Orpo, Finland’s strong support for Ukraine will continue regardless of the configuration of the future government, which he has been charged to form.
“I assured him that there was broad support for Ukraine in Finland across party lines,” Orpo said.
On the very same day, the Finnish political parties were called in for the first “negotiation boards”, where government portfolios are negotiated between the various political parties based on their electoral votes.
“I have told everyone that the intention is not to negotiate every issue to the end but to find solutions together. In other words, we are not looking for gains in the negotiations, but for common solutions,” Orpo said.
The question is now to know which ministries will be given to the Finns Party (Peru S), a right-wing populist, nationalist and eurosceptic party affiliated with the European Conservative and Reformists (ECR) that scored 20,05% at the last Finnish Parliamentary elections, slightly less than Orpo’s centre right party (affiliated to the EPP) that got 20,82%.
Orpo, however, did not want to give more details but indicated that his goal was to have a new government formed by the beginning of June.
Source : EuraCTIV