The conversation on Finland’s security takes another step further.

President Sauli Niinistö. Photograph: Matti Porre/The Finnish president’s office

On Thursday, President Sauli Niinistö met with a wide group of people who are involved in deciding what the next step will be in the question of whether Finland should apply for NATO membership.

The group consisted of the speaker and deputy speakers of Parliament, the chairs of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees, the minister for Foreign Affairs and the leaders of parties elected to Parliament.

The meeting, according to a statement by the president’s office, focused on the government report on changes in the security environment and the strengthening of Finland’s security.

An equivalent meeting last took place in March.

“I feel that the work that began in this group on March 10 is receiving its finishing touches. I want to thank everyone who contributed to this work. We again had an in-depth discussion on the ongoing report process and its next steps. I have said that I will state my position on Finland’s NATO membership no later than May 12. The picture of the current situation is shared. We are proceeding systematically and together. The goal is clear: ensuring Finland’s security in all circumstances,” President Niinistö said in the statement.

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“In my international discussions during this spring, I have received encouraging support for Finland’s solutions. These discussions will also continue,” President Niinistö added.

The president will continue discussions with Parliament when he meets with the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs on Friday.