Helsinki was always going to join NATO eventually, since it has become closely intertwined with the West over the years, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen – who hails from Finland – told Germany’s RND media group on Monday.
The Nordic nation had maintained a neutral status since the end of WWII. However, it officially submitted a bid to join the US-led military bloc on May 18.
Urpilainen, who headed Finland’s Finance Ministry between 2011 and 2014, believes her country’s neutrality was gradually eroded during the intervening period.
“Finland has not been really neutral. Over the years, we have integrated more and more into the West,” she said. After Finland had joined the EU in 1995, joining NATO was “a natural next step,” the EU official believes.