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Defence Ministry: UK offers Finland place in joint expeditionary force

The Ministry of Defence says it will analyse in detail an offer from the UK for Finland to join Britain's seven-member Joint Expeditionary Force. The possibility of a new military cooperation will be looked at in the autumn.

Finland is considering joining JEF. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

The United Kingdom has offered Finland and Sweden the possibility of joining in the UK-lead Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a military rapid reaction force made up of seven countries.

"The cooperation offer is based on Finland and Sweden being in a so-called enhanced partnership with Nato and we have a good history with joint operation with the UK," unit chief Janne Kuusela from the Defence Ministry says.

The JEF is made up of the UK (as the lead nation), Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway. The coalition, says Kuusela, aims to develop the UK's rapid reaction military performance together with allied countries.

Last year both Finland and Sweden signed a framework agreement on defence cooperation with the United Kingdom. The JEF-offer is being considered in Finland both internally and jointly with Sweden.

"Joining this force has to do with Nato, because the idea originated within Nato and the force acts within Nato's scope as exercised by the states in question. They can decide for themselves whether to invite non-Nato countries in," Kuusela says.

The defense chief says that any future collaboration would not involve any new hardware purchases for the Defence Forces – using and developing existing assets is what JEF seeks to do.

"Joining this force would have to somehow benefit Finland's defense capabilities," says Kuusela. "We think that Finland's military performance needs to be updated in the current global security environment, so the offer is quite interesting. But this will be carefully hashed out and only brought into the political sphere if we consider JEF worth joining."

Should the Ministry decide to accept the offer, the next steps would be taken in autumn, 2017.