6.2.2023  //  Yleiset, Kansainvälisyys, Puolustus, Koko Suomi

PLMI Savolan puhe Leangkollen Security Conference, Norja

PLMI Savolan puhe Leangkollen Security Conference, Norja


6.2.2023

Your Excellencies, esteemed audience,
 
The war in Ukraine has forced us all to adapt to a new reality and to
new unpredictability which we have not experienced since the Cold
War. Unfortunately, there are no signs of improvement at the
moment.
 
Russia is responsible for this war and its catastrophic consequences
in Ukraine and worldwide. This is not “a conflict between the West
and Russia” as portrayed by Russia, but an attack against the whole
rule-based international order that we have all tried to build since the
Second World War.
 
Ukraine has full rights and reasons to defend its sovereignty and we
have all the rights to support Ukraine. Finland continues to support
Ukraine as long as needed.
 
So far, we have made 12 separate decisions on donations to Ukraine.
The estimated replacement cost of the defence materiel from Finland
so far, is 590 million euros – that is about 107 € per capita. Our
materiel aid will continue at a substantial level. We are also
participating in the EU Military Assistance Mission for the Ukrainian
soldiers, as well as the UK-led training mission Operation Interflex.
 
Parts of the latest Finnish defence materiel package to Ukraine was
possible thanks to closer bilateral cooperation between Finland and
Sweden; according to the Statement of Intent I signed with my
colleague Pål Jonson, Finland supplies defence materiel to Ukraine,
and Sweden expresses its readiness to support Finland as
necessary. 
 
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 
As you all know, last spring Finland and Sweden decided to apply for
NATO membership. This is a fundamental change in the Finnish
foreign and security policy.
 
Why did we choose this path? When the war started last winter, we
soon came to the conclusion that Finland is able to strengthen both
its own security, and the stability and security in Northern Europe by
joining NATO.
 
As the war continues to shake the foundations of security and
stability of the whole region, it is easy to say that this decision was
the right way to go.
 
Although it seems an obvious choice now, applying for NATO
membership was a historical moment in both Finnish and European
political history. This decision was preceded by a quick but profound
analysis, a speedy but full democratic process, and it has a very
strong support from the Finnish public. I believe this will serve as a
good foundation for our upcoming membership in the Alliance.
 
We greatly appreciate the swift ratifications from Allied countries.
This sends a strong message to Russia about the Western resolve to
counter its aggressive policies. Hopefully also the remaining two
ratifications can be completed soon. A strong and unified Alliance
serves the interest of all its members, and we will work together with
our partners to contribute to the goals of the Alliance.
 
Fundamental changes in the security environment, like the one we
have witnessed during the past year, require close consultation and
co-operation among like-minded countries.
 
In this regard, the invitee status has helped us to increase our
understanding, gather information and start the political and military
integration to NATO structures and processes. Our partnership and
close dialogue with Sweden has also been of utmost importance throughout the process, and we look forward to becoming members
of the Alliance together.
 
Dear listeners,
 
Finnish defence policy has traditionally been based on a credible
national defence, supported by international defence cooperation.
 
We have maintained 280 000 strong trained and equipped reserve -
even during the years when national defence was not fashionable.
Also, the Finnish population’s will to defend is record high. According
to the poll published last December, 83% of Finns are ready to
defend Finland in an armed conflict.
 
Regarding Finland’s role in NATO, I would like to highlight that we
will be fully committed to all of NATO’s key tasks. We are aware of
the full rights and responsibilities of an Allied nation, and we will do
our part to make the Alliance even stronger. We will be security
providers - not consumers.
 
I would like to thank Norway for your strong and continued support
to our application process at all levels. This builds on our excellent
relations in bilateral and wider Nordic context.
 
Finland’s and Sweden’s membership will indeed also reflect on the
Nordic defence cooperation. Therefore it is of utmost importance in
these uncertain times that Finland and Sweden enter the Alliance
together.
 
Finland and Sweden have an “all inclusive” and close bilateral
cooperation which we have improved during many years. There is a
high level of integration between Finnish and Swedish navy, army,
and air force units. Finnish-Swedish operational cooperation covers
all situations. This is the next level we will aim at also in the broader
context of Nordic cooperation.

Our bilateral cooperation with Norway and trilateral cooperation
between Finland, Norway and Sweden is focused especially on the
Northern Calotte. Our aim is to be able to conduct combined or
coordinated military operations together if need be.
 
I have to add that, I was involved in writing the current
Government’s Program concerning the defence issues and increasing
the cooperation with Norway was one of the topics that I personally
wanted to add to this Government’s Program.
 
We have a solid and long-standing relations also in the wider Nordic
context and it is an excellent basis to build on. The defence of
Northern Europe forms an inseparable entity. The Nordic countries,
Baltic countries, the whole Baltic Sea region and also the High North
are all linked together.
 
Therefore, also Nordic cooperation will be linked more closely to
NATO’s work. As it has been stated many times, we will not form any
kind of block. On the contrary, we can implement NATO’s goals and
priorities in the Nordic context – the geographic area that we are the
best experts in.
 
In the even wider context, now that the Arctic cooperation with
Russia is currently impossible it is of utmost importance that all the
likeminded Arctic countries will cooperate closely together.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I want to close my statement saying that, by maintaining and further
strengthening credible defence in Northern Europe, and by ensuring
a continued support to Ukraine, we can strengthen security and
stability in the whole Euro-Atlantic area.
 
Thank you for your attention

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