Davos WEF
Davos WEF

NATO is a cornerstone of Europe: Finland foreign minister

Important European defense structure is strengthened: Finland's foreign minister

Finland's foreign minister described NATO as a cornerstone of Europe following President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of the alliance.

Donald Trump reportedly described NATO as "obsolete," which prompted concern among the European contingent in the 28 member alliance. Trump is scheduled to be inaugurated as president of the U.S. on Friday.

"It is very important that the European defense structures, security and foreign policy structures also be strengthened in the future. NATO is very important... a cornerstone in all that," Timo Soini, Finland's foreign minister, told CNBC in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday.

Soini also stressed that Russia remained a pressing concern for Finland as the two countries share a common border of around 1340 kilometers.

Rasit Aydogan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

"Of course, I have a background as a Eurosceptic politician but there are quite many in the U.K. nowadays," Soini quipped when asked about the issues surrounding Brexit.

"The thing is, we must live in the real world and even though the U.K. is leaving the European Union, it does not leave Europe," he added.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May outlined the country's plans to make a clean break from the European Union on Tuesday. In a wide-ranging speech, May confirmed the U.K. is destined to leave the single market and that a potential Brexit deal with the European Union would require a parliamentary vote.

UK is leaving EU but not Europe: Finland's FinMin

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