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Finland on fence about joining France-led defence coalition

The coalition's nine defence ministers signed a letter of intent on Monday in Luxembourg.

Emmanuel Macron ja Juha Sipilä.
File photo of Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and French President Emmanuel Macron. Sipilä is headed to Brussels later this week. Image: AOP

French President Emmanuel Macron is one step closer to achieving his goal of a military coalition of European countries.

So far, nine EU countries have announced their decision to join Macron's coalition of the willing, including France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Finland's government said it has not decided whether it would join the coalition - called the European Intervention Initiative - which, once established, would be able to react to situations near European borders without assistance from Nato or the United States.

In addition to bolstering defence capabilities, the coalition would also work together to improve how countries respond to natural disasters and evacuations, according to an AFP report citing an unspecified government source.

Macron proposed the idea for the coalition in a speech last autumn, according to Reuters.

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä is scheduled to be in Brussels towards the end of this week. On Thursday Sipilä will attend the European Council Meeting and is scheduled to attend the council's meeting on Brexit as well as the Euro Summit on Friday.

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