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Finnish-Swedish defense pact issue raised

Finland's Defense Minister Carl Haglund has taken a positive stance on the possible Nordic pooling and sharing of military equipment. However, he says that joint weapons would require a treaty between Finland and Sweden on defense arrangements.

Puolustusministeri Carl Haglund perehtyi maavoimien toimintaan Niinisalon Tykistöprikaatissa maanantaina 3. joulukuuta 2012.
Defense Minister Carl Haglund during review of ground forces at Niinisalo in December. Image: Jarno Mela / Lehtikuva

"Indeed, in practice this would mean that we should have some kind of defense agreement with Sweden, because we would be talking about crucial capabilities, for example, in the navy or the air force," Haglund said on Sunday.

Haglund expressed the view that shared defense materials would require a detailed division of activities between Finland and Sweden. He declined to specify what these would be, beyond mentioning the example of a division of sea and airspace surveillance.

"For just this reason, some kind of treaty or defense pact would be needed. Myself, I do not rule this out as some kind of vision. But this is not two years away, rather sometime later," Defense Minister Haglund speculated.

He added that the matter is a major issue of principle that would demand thorough examination. In any case, he would not include Nordic NATO member countries in this cooperation.

"For Finland and Sweden, this would be possible in theory, if the political will is found," Haglund stated.

Haglund further pointed out that public opinion polls have shown that the vast majority of Finns are in favour of Nordic defense cooperation. For this reason, he says he considers the latest opening in the issue as a welcome one.

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