According to the government’s new Defence Report, Finland’s defence environment is “tense” and “difficult to predict”. Cyber and information environments and space are lifted as areas next to traditional land, sea and air. The superpower activity in the Arctic is seen as a growing challenge to Finland and Northern Europe as a whole. The rise of China and its means of influence are mentioned separately.
Otherwise, the report covering measures until the end of the decade offers no big changes from the previous one in 2017. Cooperation with Sweden and Norway will be continued and strengthened.
The United States is described as an important and close partner and Finland will stick to its option to apply for NATO membership. Russia’s behaviour shows that its threshold for the use of military force has lowered. But, against Finland, there is no acute threat, the report states.
The basis of defence will lay on a trained reserve and the size of wartime troops will remain at 280,000. But the Defence Forces seeks to increase its staff by 500 persons by the end of the decade to meet technological tasks.
Unlike neighbouring Sweden, Finland has been an advocate for a unified European defence.
Therefore, the remarks concerning cooperation in that field made by President Ursula von der Leyen in her State of the Union Address have pleased Finnish decision-makers.
“The world is such a brusque place that it respects force. When we show that we are able to create that, we are being listened to (also) in matters where the use of force is not on the table and not an option,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö told the Finnish News Agency while attending the Arraiolos Group meeting in Rome on Wednesday.
(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)