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Home NATIONALNo defence alliance with Sweden planned: PM
Mon, 20 Jun, 2016 12:01:05 AM
Sipilä meets Löfven in Naatali
FTimes – STT Report, Jun 20
The two countries are not looking to forge a military alliance through defence cooperation, Sipilä said while speaking in the national broadcaster Yle’s Prime Minister’s Interview Hour programme.
Deepened cooperation, according to Sipilä, means joint equipment procurement and exercises as well as material cooperation and sharing of situational information.
The PM expressed concern at the military tension arising in the Baltic Sea.
“Setting out to drive iron curtains will not solve the issue but diplomacy, dialogue and reconciliation [will]. Now we are a bit on the wrong track,” said Sipilä in his criticism of the military alliance NATO.
“Of course, we all know where this has started from. The implementation of the Minsk Agreement has not progressed the way we would have wanted. As a result, the sanctions have also continued.
Commenting on the impending EU referendum in the United Kingdom, Sipilä said he believes and hopes that Britain would remain in the EU after Thursday’s referendum.
“The opinion polls were also wrong during the British parliamentary elections,” mentioned Sipilä during the interview.
If Britain decided to exit, this would be followed by a long and complex process which, according to the premier, would also call for measures from Finland. This would begin with Britain itself coming together and present request for exit.
“Immediate effects unfortunately can be seen in the economy,” Sipilä said.
In Finland, preparations on the basis of different scenarios have been made, he added.
Prime Minister Juha Sipilä arrived the Yle office in Turku to participate in the interview on Sunday. Photo Lehtikuva.
In any case, Sipilä believes the referendum will later be criticised in the EU.
“If Britain remains even with a slight majority, a debate will begin in the EU whether this is the right way for the continuation of the union in question,” Sipilä observed.
Meanwhile, Sipilä met his Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven in Naantali on Sunday.
They talked about bilateral questions, particularly about economic and trade relations as well as foreign and security policy cooperation, said an official press release. 
Topical EU affairs such as migration and the UK-EU relation were also discussed.
“Relations between our two countries are excellent. Sweden is one of Finland’s closest trading partners. There is close collaboration in the energy sector, in the field of renewable energy sources, for instance. The government aims to increase the use of emission-free, renewable energy in a sustainable way, so that its share will rise to more than 50 per cent in the 2020s,” said Sipilä.
Among the international issues, the two prime ministers discussed the Baltic Sea security policy situation. 
Sipilä also presented the key points of the Government Report on Foreign and Security Policy published on Friday.
“We are maintaining close contacts with Sweden in matters related to foreign and security policy, and defence cooperation between our two countries has evolved in a positive direction.
Bilateral cooperation between Finland and Sweden fosters security and stability in our region,” he observed.    
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