Jussi Niinistö (left), the Minister of Defence, has voiced his support for the demands of ex-Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen for closer co-operation between Finland and Sweden.Jussi Niinistö (PS), the Minister of Defence, has echoed the sentiments of ex-Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen (Centre) by floating the idea of a defence union between Finland and Sweden in an interview with Kaleva.

“A bilateral treaty hasn't been ruled out. The co-operation between Finland and Sweden is concrete, but we have a long road ahead of us,” he told the Oulu-based newspaper on Tuesday.

Niinistö also estimated that the partnership between Finland and Nato is close but clearly delineated. “Ukraine, for example, is in a peace partnership with Nato, but the Ukraine crisis has shown that partner countries have no security guarantees,” he pointed out.

Finland, he believes, should leave no stone unturned with respect to its possible membership in the defence alliance.

Related posts:

- Vanhanen calls for closer co-operation between Finland and Sweden (04 February, 2016)

Vanhanen proposed in his recently published book, Ulkopolitiikka, (Eng. Foreign Policy) that Finland and Sweden develop their co-operation towards a defence union – or even a union of two nation states.

“I represent the school of thought that one should be very precise in regards to questions of war and peace. We can never be sure whether the resources of our neighbour are at our disposal in time of need if our co-operation with Sweden is established on a voluntary basis.”

“A bilateral agreement on a defence union would solve this problem and establish the automation required for the use of joint resources,” he writes.

“I am of the opinion that a defence union between two countries cannot be functional, or even possible, without a joint foreign policy. The union should therefore be a genuine union between two nation states,” he continues.

Both Niinistö and Vanhanen estimate that it is necessary to increase co-operation with Sweden.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Petteri Paalasmaa – Uusi Suomi
Source: Uusi Suomi

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