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Final Touches to Defence Report

Yle Uutisten artikkeliarkisto

The government hammered out the final details of its defence and security policy report on Friday. The document outlines how Finnish defence will be developed in coming years.

The government has reached agreement on most issues, although a few bones of contention remain. Finland will remain militarily non-aligned and stick to its policy of independent and credible national defence.

The military doctrine stays the same: regional defence is based on a large reserve army founded on conscription. International military cooperation, such as participation in NATO's Partnership-for-Peace programme, plays a significant part in enhancing Finland's security.

Finland is also prepared to take part in the European Union's rapid deployment forces. This would probably require amendments to the constitution, which allows Finnish troops to take part only in UN-mandated crisis management operations.

The government has agreed on reducing the size of Finland's wartime military force, but at the same time the role of the territorial army will be developed.

The government has also agreed on eliminating anti-personnel landmines by the year 2016. Under the plan, Finland will sign the Ottawa Treaty calling for the elimination of the weapons in 2012. There have already been critical comments from opposition figures, who are concerned about how Finland's lengthy land borders could be defended.

Cutbacks in Military

Finland’s Defence Forces are to cut 1,200 jobs by the year 2012. In addition, 500 military employees are to be reassigned.

Defence Minister Seppo Kääriäinen and Chief of Defence, Admiral Juhani Kaskeala reported on the cutbacks on Friday.

The cutbacks are to be enacted without any dismissals.

Kääriäinen noted that many people in the Defence Forces will reach retirement age within the next ten years.

The government is expected to put its final seal on the security and defence report two weeks from now. Then it will go before parliament for approval.