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Finland and Sweden to reinforce their civil preparedness through closer cooperation

Ministry of the Interior
10.2.2021 11.11
Press release 14/2021
Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo and Swedish Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg.

Finland and Sweden will strengthen their cooperation and exchange of information in the field of civil preparedness and rescue services. On 10 February, Minister of the Interior Maria Ohisalo and Swedish Minister for Home Affairs Mikael Damberg signed a letter of intent on closer cooperation between Finland and Sweden.

“Sweden and Finland have been close partners for long, which provides a solid foundation for closer cooperation.  Common challenges to our security include changes in the security policy situation in our neighbouring areas, climate change and the vulnerability of an interdependent society. Our common goal is to further strengthen cooperation between our countries in the field of civil preparedness and rescue services, so that we can together respond to a wide range of threats that we face,” say Ohisalo and Damberg.

Civil preparedness refers to measures taken to safeguard the functions vital to society, basic supply for the population and the State's capacity to act in a crisis situation. The Ministry of the Interior's sphere of responsibility includes, in particular, rescue services and civil defence. The Ministry of the Interior takes part in measures relating to security of supply and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats (CBRN ), for example.

Closer cooperation between neighbouring countries will build up skills and bring synergies

Finland and Sweden have similar experiences of threats, risks and vulnerabilities. The resilience of society is the responsibility of each country, but deeper cooperation between neighbouring countries will build up skills, bring synergies and provide better opportunities to plan, practise and be prepared for different crisis situations. Closer cooperation will also help the countries to provide and receive bilateral assistance and support more effectively. The purpose is to strengthen cooperation also in material preparedness and security of supply as well as in the development of resources for CBRNE incidents.

There is already a great deal of cooperation between the countries on civil preparedness and rescue services. A good example of Nordic cooperation is the Haga cooperation in the field of rescue services and preparedness, which Finland will chair this year. Bilateral cooperation in the field of rescue services is also ongoing and, for example it takes place on a daily basis in the Tornionjoki river valley.

However, in many areas of civil preparedness, cooperation between Finland and Sweden has a great deal of development potential and stronger cooperation is needed. Together, Finland and Sweden can exercise influence and act more effectively both in the European Union (e.g. EU civil protection cooperation) and in other international contexts (e.g. NATO Partnership for Peace programme). 

Inquiries:
Sameli Sivonen
, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 406 68 55, [email protected]  (requests for interviews with Minister Ohisalo)
Veera Parko, Director for International Affairs, tel. +358 295 488 442, [email protected] 
Wivi-Ann Wagello-Sjölund, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 640, [email protected]

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