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Home NATIONALFinland eyes closer defence ties with France
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Tue, 14 Jun, 2016 12:05:45 AM
PM to visit Paris on Wednesday
FTimes – STT Report, Jun 14

Finland seeks closer ties with France in EU defence and security policy cooperation.

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä will visit Paris on Wednesday to meet with French leaders where security and defence policies will be the main topic of conversation, official sources said.

The French policies appeal to Finland, because strong military presence has actively driven the deepening of EU cooperation.

The prime minister’s visit to France carries a message of cooperation, which highlights the need for other EU countries to enhance cooperation.

Finland considers joint efforts in responding to threats especially important.

As a NATO country, France seeks far different things from EU cooperation than Finland.

The French primary objective is that EU countries work together to combat terrorism and the extremist organisation ISIS.

The timing of Sipilä’s visit underscores the concerns of the French, because the threat of new terrorist attacks has intensified in Paris due to the European Football Championship.

France led a united EU front after the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, when it triggered the EU’s mutual security guarantees for the first time in the history of the union.

France has taken care of requests for assistance bilaterally, so that the role of implementing security guarantees has not gone to the EU. However, they are an indication that the EU’s mutual assistance clause is more than just words on paper.

According to Finnish sources, France is one of the largest EU countries to partner in security policy.

The other nuclear power, Britain, has wanted to keep defence policies within NATO.

While Germany is, in principle, sympathetic to the intensification of EU cooperation, the country has traditionally taken a much smaller role in security policy.

According to diplomatic sources, Germany is often the “silent partner” at the NATO tables. Germany’s participation in crisis management is often difficult due to the country’s history.

However, Germany has also awakened to the changes in the security environment. The country has begun, for example, emphasising the strong cooperation between the EU and NATO to new threats.

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