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Finance Minister Orpo backs deeper EU defence cooperation

Petteri Orpo argues that Finland reaps a tenfold benefit for every euro it spends on a common EU defence. He leads the conservative National Coalition Party, traditionally one of Finland's most pro-NATO parties.

Valtiovarainministeri Petteri Orpo Ylen haastattelussa 27.06.2017.
Petteri Orpo took over as finance minister and NCP chair from Alexander Stubb just over a year ago. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

Finance Minister Petteri Orpo says he backs deeper cooperation with other European Union member states, including on developing defence capacities.

In a Yle interview published on Sunday, Orpo said it would benefit Finland to be among the countries spearheading a common defence capability for the EU.

"If we spend one euro on developing a common European defence, we get 10 euros' worth of security back, to put it simply," he said. "It's in Finland's interest to be in the group that is moving fastest to develop the EU's defence, even if that group operates at different speeds if need be."

Outside the NATO club

Orpo admits however that while the Finnish government would probably not have any problem with deepening cooperation, problems might crop on the practical level due to member states' differing needs.

"European Union countries have different needs. Most EU states are NATO members, and we aren't. Therefore from Finland's point of view, whatever we can do together to improve defence capabilities would benefit us," he noted.

Former interior minister Orpo leads the conservative National Coalition Party, traditionally one of Finland's most pro-NATO parties.

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