HELSINKI, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Finland has expressed belated interest in joining the French-led European Intervention Initiative, a joint military project between nine European countries outside of existing both NATO and European Union (EU) structures, the Finnish Foreign Ministry announced Friday.
The decision was taken on Friday at the governmental security and foreign policy committees joint session with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto. Finland reached its decision later than the original signatories.
In late June nine other EU and NATO countries signed a letter of intent to join the system. Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto said already in May that Finland still wanted to consider the situation.
The original participants are Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Britain.
Friday's decision in Helsinki followed the visit in Finland on Thursday by French defense minister Florence Parly.
French President Emmanuel Macron will be paying a visit to Finland next week. He rolled out the initiative in September 2017.
So far Finland is participating in the EU fast reaction forces, the British-led fast response JEF system and the German-led Framework Nation Concept grouping. Finland is also within the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), which is the part of the EU's security and defense policy.
Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinisto said in February that Finnish decisions to join military co-operation systems are "not an automation" but cases are considered.