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Finland- EU- Russia security  

Finland- EU- Russia security

The Security Policy Significance of EU Membership for Finland

I.  The European Union and Finnish Security

Finland's membership in the European Union is a pragmatic line of action in security policy. EU membership gives Finland new opportunities for influencing change and stability in its security environment. The importance of membership for Finnish security depends on Finland's own contribution. Finland's military security remains its own responsibility.

As a member of the EU, Finland has full powers and opportunities for influencing the decisions taken in a community of democratic states aiming to build lasting security.

Since the end of the East West division, the policy of neutrality that Finland followed in the Cold War is no longer a viable line of action. During the Cold War, Finland tried to avoid making political, and especially military, commitments that might have drawn it into conflicts between the great powers. In the new situation, Finland's strategy is an active participation in international political and security cooperation for prevention and resolution of security problems.

Finland has not made any security policy reservations concerning its obligations under its founding treaties or the Maastricht Treaty. Finland has joined the Union as a militarily nonaligned country which wishes to play an active and constructive role in creating and implementing a common foreign and security policy.

The EU is not a military alliance, nor is it an independent actor in the field of defence. Those EU Member States that also belong to NATO manage their defence through the collective defence offered by NATO, while the militarily nonaligned member states rely on an independent defence. Despite the provisions of its founding charter, the WEU is not a fullscale military alliance; the common defence of its members is managed in coordination with NATO and in practice relies on NATO's military structures and resources.

Military nonalignment is no obstacle to Finland's pursuit of its membership objectives, or to the fulfilment of its undertakings. No such conflict can be found either in the clauses of the Maastricht Treaty or in Finland's experiences or prospects as a member.

Finland's contribution to conflict prevention and crisis management strengthens the Union's capacity to promote cooperative security in Europe. Finland's credible independent defence capability is an important contribution to the Union's common security. Finland will play a constructive role in consideration of the defence issue within the Union, decisions concerning which will be made unanimously among the member states. Finland is convinced that its own interests and those of the other member states can be reconciled on this issue.

It is by remaining outside military alliances that Finland under the present circumstances can best support stability in northern Europe and thus more widely on the continent as a whole. Considering the special historical relationship between Sweden and Finland and the similar interests in their vicinity, Sweden's security policy has always been an extremely important factor in Finnish security.

The European Union's goal is to safeguard the common values and interests and independence of the Union, and to strengthen the security of the Union and all its member states in all ways. A capable and unified European Union in which the interests of all member states are taken equally into account will strengthen Finnish security. Union membership will help Finland repel any military threats and prevent attempts to exert political pressure.

As an independent state, Finland will defend its political sovereignty and territorial integrity. Under the UN Charter, Finland can request the assistance and support of other countries if it becomes the object of aggression.

II. The Security Policy Significance of EU Membership for Finland

1.  Finland and the Development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy

The European Union pursues a common foreign and security policy in order to attain the common objectives of its members. Under the Maastricht Treaty, the common foreign and security policy shall include all questions related to the security of the European Union. Within the Union's second intergovernmental pillar, the member states have enhanced and expanded the foreign policy cooperation begun during the Community era. In the longer term, the Treaty allows the EU a common defence policy and a common defence.

The common defence adopted as the Union's longterm goal in the Maastricht Treaty continues to generate public debate, but there are as yet in sight no prospects of it coming about. The primary task of the Union's defence dimension in the short term is to develop a capability for crisis management. The means to this are the strengthening of the WEU's operational and structural capabilities.

2.  Finland's Experiences

The security policy solutions made by Finland provide an adequate foundation for involvement in international cooperation for crisis management. The framework for Finnish action comprises its EU membership, its observer status in the WEU its Partnership for Peace with NATO, and its OSCE and UN membership. Finland's actual contribution in practice will depend on its own decisions and the country's determination and capacity.

Finland's security policy derives from a national security assessment and national decisionmaking. The national policies extend to all issues of foreign relations.

Through the Union, the member states pursue a systematic policy of taking stands on international disputes and conflicts, and of coordination and collaboration in international organizations. The objects of a joint Union action include the Pact on Stability in Europe and election monitoring, in arms control the extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and OSCE projects such as strengthening cooperation between the OSCE and the UN.

Foreign and security policy cooperation within the Union is an intergovernmental matter which is normally implemented by unanimous decisions and solutions of the member states. Their common values and similar goals and interests in building up a European security order are the basis for unity and mutual solidarity between the member states. By sharing in these collective efforts, Finland can expect support from other members for its own aspirations and for its position.

Finland's experiences as a member of the Union show that Finnish security interests can be reconciled with the Union's common interests.

Finland has had no difficulty in concurring with the common stands and joint measures on which the members of the Union have attained unanimity. Finland has made an active contribution to the Union's joint strategy on Russia, which aims at building a lasting partnership between the EU and a democratic Russia. Finland has been able to participate in and concur with the Union's action in the Chechen crisis, where the Union has called upon Russia to observe the norms and obligations it has endorsed, as a condition for putting into force the partnership and cooperation agreement with the Union. Finland has won support from the Union for its own, and the Nordic, line of action in consolidating the independence of the Baltic states, in supporting their political and economic reforms and in opening for them the perspective of Union membership.

The security policy significance of EU membership for Finland depends not only on the Union's capability but also, and crucially, on Finland's own capability and activeness as a Union member. In terms of Finnish security, strategically important objects for cooperation in the future will be to enhance the capabilities of the OSCE and to build a cooperative security order in Europe, to create an EU strategy on Russia, and to expand the Union into Central Europe and the Baltics.

Finland supports consolidation of the EU's crisis management capacity. Finland is preparing to contribute constructively to debate on the future of the Union's and WEU's institutional relations.

3.  Defence Planning, Doctrine and Personnel Policy

The goal of Finland's defence is to guarantee the country's independence, secure the livelihood of its citizens, prevent Finnish territory from being seized and secure the functioning of the state leadership. Finland's defence solution is based on territorial defence and a large reserve army founded on general conscription.

Credible national defence is the best way to guarantee that Finnish territory will not become the object of military speculation, or that a war will not result from the threat of military force in even minor crises. The entire territory of the country will be defended. The creation of capabilities for receiving assistance in a crisis situation is taken into consideration in developing Finland's defence.

The President of the Republic is the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces. The Government Committee on Foreign and Security Policy is the highest consultative and planning body on defence matters. Its members are the ministers responsible for national security, the Prime Minister acting as its chairman. The President may attend the meetings. As a part of the Council of State, the Ministry of Defence is responsible for national defence policy, as well as international defence cooperation.

The Chief of Defence leads the Defence Forces, which are responsible for securing the territorial integrity of the country, and the defence of the nation and its military preparedness in general. Administratively, the Defence Forces are under the Ministry of Defence. In respect to operational orders, the Chief of Defence is directly responsible to the President.

In addition to military defence, the concept of total defence includes measures concerning national economy, civil defence, the media, social welfare, communications and civil order. In accordance with the 1991 State of Readiness Act, the defence of the nation is shared among several different administrative sectors.

The country is divided into three commands and 12 military provinces, a structure that ensures the whole territory is defended. The most important tasks of the Defence Forces are surveillance of the nation's land, sea and air spaces, securing territorial integrity and, if necessary, the defence of the country.

According to Finnish law, all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 are under obligation to carry out military service. The conscripts serve either a period of twelve (12), nine (9) or six (6) months. Each year more than 80% of those called up complete their national service. An essential part of national service is military training of reservists. In accordance with a law passed in 1995, it is possible for women to volunteer for military service, and 400-500 women do so annually.

Finland's wartime defence is based on mobilised forces. The general development in Europe, including the environs of Finland, has made a reduction in the strength of Defence Forces possible, provided the technical level of the remaining forces is raised. The reductions in the Defence Forces wartime strength will be continued, bringing the maximum strength down to 350,000 men by the end of 2008.

In developing Finland's defence system, priority will be given to the command and control system, the Army's readiness formations, military crisis management capacity and the wartime economy arrangements in the information society.

4.  The Finnish Defence Forces


Finland spends about 1.4 % of its GDP on military defence. An essential part of the Defence Forces' capability is its materiel preparedness, and about one third of defence expenditure is spent on procurement.

Finland's military crisis management capacity is developed to meet the crisis management objectives of the European Union and the UN, the primary tool being the NATO Planning and Review Process (PARP). Development of the troops and systems of the Finnish Defence Forces for crisis management purposes will be of benefit to national defence. Finland can participate in military crisis management operations implemented by the UN, the OSCE, the EU or NATO, provided these operations are under a UN or OSCE mandate consistent with the provisions of the Finnish Act on Peace Support Operations. Finland may have up to 2,000 peacekeepers in operations at any one time.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence are responsible for military crisis management preparations, guidance and supervision. The Defence Forces are responsible for practical implementation.

Finland's first priority is to take part in EU-led Peace Support Operations in the Nordic framework. The Nordic Countries have developed the concept of a common pool of forces for military crisis management within the framework of the Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support (NORDCAPS). ´Our common Nordic aim is to create, by the year 2003, a Nordic force package up to brigade level for Peace Support Operations. These troops could be used in both EU and NATO-led operations, as well as UN and possible OSCE-led operations´.

Finland cooperates with NATO in numerous ways. Finland signed the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Framework Document in May 1994 and joined the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in June 1997. Finland supports the strengthening of the PfP and the participation of Partners in the planning of crisis management operations.

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© 2010.