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Tuomioja: Joint Nordic military equipment ownership possible

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja says that the idea of pooling and sharing military equipment in the Nordic region, put forward by Sweden's ministers of foreign affairs and defense, could be possible.

Leopard-panssarivaunu maavoimien harjoituksissa Parolannummella helmikuussa 2011.
A Leopard tank during Finnish army exercises at Parolannummi in February 2011. Image: Kimmo Mäntylä / Lehtikuva

Writing in the Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the country's Defense Minister Karin Enström urged closer defense cooperation among the Nordic nations. Among the practical measures suggested would be the "pooling and sharing" of military equipment and supplies.

Responding to the article, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja noted that joint ownership would require treaty arrangements, but that such an arrangement is not out of the question.

He went on to point out that cooperation between Finland and the other Nordic countries has been carried out on a very practical level and based on the fact that there are types of cooperation that are mutually beneficial in terms of cost efficiency and effectiveness.

According to Tuomioja, these include joint military manoeuvres, training, and joint materials acquisition, as well as cooperation in crisis management and surveillance operations. In some cases, he noted, all of the Nordic countries have been involved and some are bi-lateral.

The closer cooperation described in the Swedish newspaper article, according to the Finnish Foreign Minister, is already taking place.

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