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Defence Minister: Finland and Sweden could maintain joint military units in future

Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö concurs with Prime Minister Sipilä’s plans to step up Finland’s defence cooperation with Sweden. He says several legal impediments prohibit closer military cooperation at present, but that both Finland and Sweden are investigating how to change the statutes and make shared responsibilities a reality.

Jussi Niinistö
Jussi Niinistö Image: Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva

Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö wrote on Sunday in his blog that he supports the Prime Ministers of Finland and Sweden’s letter of intent with regard to increased defence cooperation.

“It is easy to concur with what the premiers wrote. Sweden is Finland’s most important ally, alongside the United States, when it comes to defence. We are both militarily non-aligned,” he wrote.

He says joint defence training is not a money-saving ploy, rather a military necessity, as development and maintenance of defence capabilities will prove more difficult for everyone, but especially for small countries like Finland.

Niinistö mentions in his blog that one possible area of future cooperation could be joint use of alternative Air Force landing bases and Naval base infrastructure.

“It is also possible that we would maintain joint military units in various defence branches in the future,” Niinistö said.

The minister says that closer cooperation is hampered by legal restrictions at present, but that both Finland and Sweden are examining the situation to establish what legal conditions must be established for joint defence work between the two countries to flourish.

“It is clear that there shouldn’t be statutory limitations to prevent consideration of providing Finnish resources to assist Sweden, or conversely, to prevent Finland from accepting help offered from Sweden. The world spins at a dizzying pace, and it is hard to predict what will happen. The need for assistance could arise very quickly.”

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