Ilta-Sanomat has reported that Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö had spoken in favour of shared European defence for years, and now he has received support from both France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Merkel spoke at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday and she said the European Union should establish a joint army. French President Macron and European Commission President Juncker have also spoken on behalf of a European army.
An editorial in Ilta-Sanomat has stated that Finnish top politicians have reacted strongly to the allegations that Russia had been jamming the GPS signal in his Finland’s northern airspace during the recent Nato military exercise Trident Juncture 2018.
President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, Foreign Minister Timo Soini, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Matti Vanhanen, and Chairman of the Defence Committee Ilkka Kanerva condemned the incident. Mr Soini also promised to issue a statement to the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Kremlin has disputed the allegations. The editorial states that even if no « smoking gun » could be found, Finland should object to Russia’s violation of its airspace.
Verkkouutiset reports that according to a European Policy Centre (EPC) study: « Finland in the European Union: Frontrunner or follower », Finland is only average in European affairs. Finland makes positive statements about, for example, the internal market but then holds on to many blocks to the free mobility of goods, services, capital, and labour, says senior policy analyst Annika Hedberg.
Finland ranks well in terms of the digital internal market, digital skills, public services, and mobile networks. EPC researcher Paul Ivan said that Finland should intensify its defence and security co-operation with Europe. However, the problem is that, according to Ivan, Finland is not of interest to other EU countries. Finland follows Germany’s defense policy, but Germany does not see Finland as a strategic partner.
Iltalehti has reported that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini will meet the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on 15 November. They will discuss i.a. the transatlantic cooperation, European security, response to hybrid threats and other topical issues.
Mr Soini will also meet members of the Congress and discuss with representatives of think tanks. According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, the discussions highlight the impact of the interim on US policy, relations between the European Union and the United States, and the future of the statutory system.
Journalist: Antti Pajamo
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini visited Finland on Wednesday and met with Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, among others. According to Ms Mogherini, Finland’s presidency of the Council of the EU will be exceptionally important, as we are living in a time of change within Europe. She said that during that time, the EU will need leadership, which Finland will certainly show.
Mr Sipilä defined some of the main challenges as the European Parliament elections, forming the new European Commission and Brexit negotiations. Also the budget framework will require a great amount of work.
According to Helsingin Sanomat, the preparations for the Arctic Council Summit, in which Presidents Putin and Trump might also take part, are well on their way. The planners are already planning on possible dates in spring 2019.
President Sauli Niinistö commented on the summit, saying that the United States seems to have become more interested in it. He said that things have advanced towards a better direction, surprisingly. He says that if the summit participants will be from the higher level, the participants will determine the date of the summit.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö spoke at the 100th anniversary of the Finnish Supreme Court about his concern over the devaluation of international agreements in international politics. According to Mr Niinistö, it seems that in geopolitics power and strength are what counts today.
He said that by questioning international agreements, some aim to change the current world order. Ignoring common agreements has never led to anything good. According to President Niinistö, the United Nations and its member states must express their will to collaborate.
Main source: President Sauli Niinistö
Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö said in a speech at the Brookings Institute in Washington that Finland has always taken its own defence seriously and that he is happy with the recent developments in strengthening European security.
He added that during the past 70 years, NATO has practically meant the United States, which has carried the greatest burden over European defence. This has been very important to Europe. The structures and sums planned by the European Union now in its defence might sound technocratic and small to the United states, but they are an important extension to European defence, Mr Niinistö pointed out.