Foreign affairs minister João Gomes Cravinho

Foreign affairs Minister in Helsinki to discuss Finland’s bid to join NATO

João Gomes Cravinho meets Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto

With Finland expected to officially announce its application to join NATO this weekend, foreign affairs minister João Gomes Cravinho has become one of the latest politicians to visit the country.

The meeting comes after Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto challenged Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin to “look in the mirror” if he wanted to understand why the Baltic country is no longer content to remain neutral.

As Mr Gomes Cravinho discusses the prospect of Finland joining the Alliance with his counterpart Pekka Haavisto, other bilateral issues are also understood to be on the agenda.

Lusa points out that Portugal was one of the 12 founding members of NATO, which currently has 30 members.

Russian sources meantime have been reacting to the prospect of not just Finland, but Sweden also, joining NATO in the coming days, saying it won’t help assure peace in Europe.

Indeed, foreign affairs minister Serguei Lavrov has said that Finland’s joining “will cause serious harm to bilateral Russian-Finnish relations (…) Russia will be forced to take retaliatory measures, as much technico-military as others, to bring an end to the threats to its national security…”

Political analysts see the situation differently, suggesting a decision by Finland and Sweden to join NATO “will improve deterrence against Russia in northern Europe” and add to the alliance’s security.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com