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Home NATIONALLeaders express disagreement on NATO report
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Sat, 14 Feb, 2015 12:06:57 AM
President receives review on Finland's security cooperation
FTimes – STT Report, Feb 14
NATO flag. File Photo AFP-Lehtikuva.
The debate on military alliance NATO membership application has manifested in new ways in both Finland and Sweden following the crisis in Ukraine.
The disagreement among the leaders of political parties came following the review report on country's security and defence policy cooperation, which was handed over to the president and the cabinet committee on Foreign and Security Policy on Friday.
There is still lack of consensus within Finnish political leadership whether a separate report on the benefits and drawbacks of the NATO membership should be drafted.
Jussi Niinistö, the chair of parliamentary Defence Committee believes a report on the issue in necessary in order to have a fact-based and relevant discussion.
According to Niinistö, the report should be drafted in next electoral term. It should analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the NATO membership in such a way that a complete outcome of the security analysis will be derived.
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja spoke in parliament on Friday. Photo – Lehtikuva.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja on the other hand does not see the necessity of a separate report.
According to Tuomioja, the drafting of usual foreign and security report is enough. Similarly, the chair of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee Timo Soini said that in any case, the government should draft its own report on security policy which should not be limited only to the issue of NATO.
Earlier, The President and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy received a review on Finland's security cooperation for its information prepared by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with comments and expert assistance provided by the Office of the President, Prime Minister and the Ministry of Defence, said an official press release.
Upon receiving the review the Committee noted that, in accordance with its remit, it is limited in nature and only addresses Finland's security and defence policy cooperation with different institutions and states on the basis of the present guidelines.
The review does not address issues associated with NATO membership or questions related to 'comprehensive security'.
The aim of the review is to further the ongoing debate on Finland's security.
The review is particularly topical because of the prevailing international situation, characterised by mounting uncertainty and increasingly tense relations between states.
Russia, through its actions in Ukraine, has breached international law and the fundamental principles of European security, said the report, adding that Russia's action poses significant challenges to Europe's security system as a whole. 
The uncertainty is also seen in Finland's neighbourhood, the strained situation is manifested in the intensifying military readiness activities in the entire area of the Baltic Rim and Northern Europe.
Also the situation in the Middle East and North Africa has become more unstable. The threat of terrorism is on the rise, and the complexity of threats and risks is growing, the press release added.
The fundamental purpose of Finland's foreign and security policy is to secure the conditions for the preservation of Finland's independence and freedom as well as peace and for the growth of the citizens' well-being.
The primary purpose of the resources allocated to military defence is to establish a credible defence capability which will act as a deterrent against military pressure or attack.  
Since 1994 Finland has actively engaged in Partnership for Peace (PfP) cooperation with NATO. The Alliance has since reformed its partnership policy several times - most recently at the Wales Summit in 2014.  
Finnish military personnel and civilians have been able to utilise and improve their skills in NATO operations, which is very important from the standpoint of Finland's national defence and to the credibility of its defence.
Considering the future, NATO's evolving partnership programme continues to provide excellent opportunities for Finland to deepen its participation in the activities of the Alliance, as appropriate, and to utilise all available capabilities and NATO's structures in the development of Finland's national defence.
Jussi Niinistö, the chair of parliamentary Defence Committee and Timo Soini chair of the parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.Photo – Lehtikuva.
NATO will remain the most important military actor in Europe for the foreseeable future and the venue of transatlantic policy and security relationship. Finland can envisage that the benefits accrued from NATO PfP cooperation will only continue to grow. Finland is also expected to actively participate in the said cooperation.
Finland, should it so desire, also has the option of applying for NATO membership.
Bilateral cooperation with the United States is important to Finland. Much of Finland's most modern defence material originates in the United States.  
It is in Finland's interests to strengthen the dialogue with the United States. 
Furthermore, Finland hopes to advance regional dialogue with the United States as per the review, the official release said.
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