A Ministry for Foreign Affairs building in Katajanokka, Helsinki, in April 2020. Officials at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have rejected the idea of setting up a security policy advisor role under the prime minister’s office, viewing that it could blur the division of foreign and security policy duties between ministries and the office. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


THE MINISTRY for Foreign Affairs has rejected the idea of setting up a position for a security policy advisor under the office of the prime minister, arguing that it would blur the division of responsibilities between the office and ministries responsible for security policy, reports YLE.

The position, it added, could also create uncertainty about a partial transfer of power from the ministries to the office of the prime minister.

The office of the prime minister floated the idea of establishing the position a couple of weeks ago, saying the advisor and the special unit they would head would strengthen the capabilities of the office to assist the prime minister in security policy issues falling within his or her purview as required by the looming membership in Nato.

The intention was to recruit the advisor as soon as this spring so that the advisor was familiar with the issues by the time the next prime minister takes office.

While the Ministry for Foreign Affairs did not deny that the prime minister needs more support on security policy issues, it estimated that the support provided by special advisors should continue to suffice and that setting up the position could disproportionately elevate security policy in terms of assisting the prime minister.

The ministry viewed that the position should not be established until the next government has had the opportunity to comment on it and until Finland has acceded to Nato.

The statement was signed by Jukka Salovaara, the permanent state secretary at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and presented by Piritta Asunmaa, the head of political department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens) on Tuesday expressed his reservations about the idea of the outgoing government setting up and filling the position.

“I’ve said as a politician that when the parties that will form the government convene, the legacy of the previous government isn’t always a positive if there have been some last-minute appointments,” he was quoted saying by YLE.

Minister of Defence Mikko Savola (Centre) similarly estimated that there is no reason not to postpone the decision until the next electoral term.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT