However, defence cooperation is built around compatibility with NATO.
Of the Nordic Countries, Finland, Sweden and Denmark are in the European Union. Denmark, Norway, and Iceland are members of NATO. Finland is the only country to use the euro.
History and geography have taken the Nordic Countries to partly different camps in economic and security policy. According to Prime Minister Vanhanen, the attraction of Nordic cooperation is enhanced by the fact that it gives Finland access to inside information about NATO.
“It is a good channel for getting information. We hear assessments of NATO, and the others get information from us on questions related to EU membership and the common currency.”
Is it necessary to strive to get all Nordic Countries to be members of the European Union or NATO, for instance?
“Each country makes its own decisions. I myself, have considered it to be a natural goal for all countries to be members of both the European Union and the common currency some day. However, I do not see it as a special goal for all of the Nordic Countries that everyone should make the same decisions on military policy. Finland will make its own decisions,” Vanhanen says.
Specialisation under Consideration
Cooperation in defence is moving forward. In air defence, Finland and Sweden will soon be working together with NATO member Norway, and the Defence Staff is considering how the different countries could specialise in the different parts of defence. Cooperation would bring savings.
Prime Minister Vanhanen says that cooperation requires compatibility with NATO in the acquisition of weaponry and other military equipment.
Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies says that it remains to be seen how deep this cooperation will go – how far specialisation will go, in that how one country will respond to one aspect, and another focuses on something else, to form a whole.
“Now it is not yet the time for that. Now we are looking for traditional targets of cooperation, and promoting them, and in the coming years there will certainly be political assessments on how far we will go.”
“Swedish EU Presidency Benefits Finland”
Häkämies is scheduled to present the results of defence cooperation in Stockholm at a meeting of the Nordic Council on Wednesday.
Sweden currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, and Denmark will host the upcoming climate summit. Prime Minister Vanhanen feels that having such good neighbours is beneficial for Finland.