Finnish-French MEP criticise Finnish President and Foreign Minister

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Friday, February 25, 2005

Paris, Helsinki — The former Finnish rally driver and current Member of the European Parliament for Grand Sud-Est France, Ari Vatanen, harshly criticised Finnish President Tarja Halonen and the current Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja for having an anti-American stance and maintaining old-fashioned ideologies about defence strategies that hark back to the 1970s, in an article in the Wall Street Journal Europe.

The UMP member, born in Finland, said that considering that 94% of the nations in the EU are NATO members, it does not make sense for Finland to not join.

According to Vatanen, when the MEP first tried publish the piece in the Helsingin Sanomat, the newspaper refused to publish it.

Accondingly Helsingin Sanomat, 57% of Finns are against joining NATO, while 23% are in favour.

Helsingin Sanomat is the main newspaper of Finland and the biggest daily subscription-based newspaper in Scandinavia. The paper is independent and non-aligned.