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Government’s Foreign and Security Policy Report Published

Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Publication date 17.6.2016 12.00
Press release

Press release 122/2016
17 June 2016

“In its foreign and security policy Finland must prepare for rapid and even unpredictable changes in its operating environment; we do not have the option or desire to isolate ourselves”, stated Foreign Minister Timo Soini as he presented the Government’s Foreign and Security Policy Report on 17 June. Earlier in the day the Government approved presenting the Report to Parliament.

By way of the Report the Government analyses the effects of the developments in Finland’s operating environment and presents the focus areas of Finland’s foreign and security policy for the coming years.

The European security system has been challenged and tension has grown in the Baltic Sea region. Security is also threatened by terrorism, increasing radicalisation and uncontrolled migration.

Russia’s action, the illegal annexation of Crimea and its actions in Eastern Ukraine constitutes a major shift in European security. In light of the security situation in our vicinity the use or threat of military force against Finland cannot be excluded.

The Report defines the priorities and goals of Finland’s foreign and security policy. Finland wishes to actively strengthen security and stability in the region, but also prepares for threats.

”We will deepen cooperation, and we need an active foreign and security policy”, emphasised Foreign Minister Soini when he presented the priorities of the Report.

Finland aims at bolstering the EU as a security community that cultivates cooperation among its Member States. This includes taking care of internal and external security needs, among other things in order to identify and counter hybrid influencing.

Sweden enjoys a special status in Finland’s bilateral cooperation. Finland’s foreign and security policy and defence cooperation with Sweden is wide-ranging and it is promoted on the basis of shared interests without any limitations. Finland will intensify its cooperation with the United States on many international matters. The commitment of the United States to NATO and its military presence in Europe continue to be essential to Finland’s security and to the stability of Europe.

Bilateral and multilateral defence cooperation is an important part of maintaining, developing and using Finland’s defence capacity, and crisis prevention.

In its relations with Russia Finland promotes cooperation and maintains a dialogue on the international situation and issues associated with the Baltic Sea region and bilateral topics. The EU’s common positions on Russia form the basis for Finland’s action. The implementation of the Minsk Agreement is vital for EU-Russia relations to improve.

Finland’s partnership with NATO is wide-ranging. It is important for Finland to develop regular political dialogue and practical cooperation with NATO. Finland continues to participate in NATO exercises and training activities from its own perspectives and interests. While carefully monitoring the developments in its security environment, Finland maintains the option to seek NATO membership.

Finland intensifies its efforts on advancing national dialogue processes and mediation. Finland continues its active participation in international crisis management. The Government will evaluate the effectiveness of Finland’s participation, operation by operation.

The Report emphasises the relationship between external and internal security. Finland will prepare against different forms of hybrid influencing and strengthen the required capabilities.

Finland promotes the stabilisation and security in the Arctic environment on the basis of shared norms. The economic growth potential of the region will be utilised on a sustainable basis and by taking into consideration the rights of indigenous peoples.

Finland promotes the status of the UN and other international organisations and supports the strengthening of the multilateral trade regime. Finland is committed to the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Finland promotes the realisation of women’s and girls’ rights, and women’s equal political and economic participation. Finland intensifies its efforts to counter violence against women.

In order to prevent uncontrollable migration the root causes of the phenomenon will be addressed by, among other things, advancing economic growth and strengthening conflict prevention.

Finland will develop its national crisis resilience through the principle of comprehensive security.

Additional information: Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Chief of Cabinet Raili Lahnalampi, tel. +358 50 550 7546 and Ambassador Hannu Kyröläinen, tel. +358 295 351 027

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