Finnish Minister of Defence Antti Häkkänen (NCP) spoke to reporters in conjunction with a meeting of Nato defence ministers outside the defence alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, 13 June 2024. Häkkänen on Friday stated to YLE that Finland secured support from all members of the defence alliance for its key goals for the meeting. (Simon Wohlfahrt – AFP / Lehtikuva)

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THE MEETING of Nato defence ministers in Brussels on 13–14 June was a success for Finland, according to Minister of Defence Antti Häkkänen (NCP).

Häkkänen on Friday told YLE that Finland secured support from all members of the defence alliance for its three key objectives for the meeting: establishing a ground command unit and a ground-force presence in Finland, and re-organise all Nordics under the US-based Joint Force Command Norfolk.

The decision, he said, will contribute to security in Finland and Northern Europe.

The presence of ground forces will be accomplished under the so-called forward land forces (FLF) mission, following an evaluation of its benefit to the entire defence alliance and the broad military reserve and other special characteristics of Finland.

“If a dangerous situation arises, we’ll get more manpower quickly,” summarised Häkkänen.

He said to the public broadcasting company that the ground command unit will have an important role in Nato. “It’ll be a Nato command unit that’ll lead land warfare in Northern Europe. Together with the Joint Force Command Norfolk and overall Nato Command Structure, its duty will be to anticipate, prepare and plan how Nato will defend the entire area and Northern Europe in Finnish territory.”

The location and other details of the unit will be decided at a later data. Mikkeli, an over 50,000-resident town in Southern Savonia, has previously been identified as a possible location for the unit, according to YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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