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Scandinavia Today


Finland resistant to a Nordic  defence pact

Monday, 14 January 2013
Sweden's wish to see closer defence cooperation in the Nordic region but that seems to be heading for the failure as Finland increases it resistance to a Nordic defence pact, which would have led to a much closer co-operation. That defence pact is not on the agenda but a closer co-operation is on going according to Finland.

Finnish premier, Jyrki Katainen is not very enthusiastic about it and has rejected closer military co - operation Sweden would have loved. He said today that he is against the idea of a Nordic defence pact.

Yesterday, Sweden was crying that the persistent economic crisis was making it hard for the countries which make up the Nordic co-operation countries, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark to find it easy to invest in the military system. 

Also the Finnish Defence Minister, Carl Haglund has been upbeat on the idea of the possible pooling of Nordic military hardware. However, he noted that jointly- owned weapons would require a treaty between Finland and Sweden on defence arrangements.

"Discussion of a defence pact is currently not on the agenda and I don’t know if it ever will be. Now is the time to concentrate on defence co-operation at a practical level, "the Finnish Prime Minister commented to Finnish network, Yle.

In Katainen’s view, co-operation in the form of joint exercises and equipment purchasing were both welcome. He reminded that Finland had wide-ranging co-operation also with NATO member states. “Defence co-operation can be done with a defence pact,” the Prime Minister remarked to Yle.

On Sunday, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Defence Minister Karin Enström urged closer defence cooperation among the Nordic nations. Among the practical measures suggested would be the "pooling and sharing" of military equipment and supplies.

"It gives politicians an opportunity to hold down or even reduce defence spending. Cooperation is used as a way to explain how one can still require the same information, but do not contribute more resources," said Jacob Westberg, a lecturer at the National Defence University, in Sweden to Swedish Television News on Sunday.

According to Swedish television, in Norway, the issue of Nordic cooperation is high on the agenda. Of course, that will also be good for economic reasons," said Ine Eriksen - Søreide from the Norwegian Conservative Party. She is one of the nation's leading defence politicians and chairman of the Norwegian Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

As long as there is doubt about Norway's loyalty to NATO, the country would like to strengthen the Nordic bands, she believes. She believes that the NORDEFCO idea is good as a means to develop this cooperation further, reports Swedish television News on Sunday.
By Team Team

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