President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö. LEHTIKUVA


THE OFFICE of President Sauli Niinistö has voiced its strong reservations about the notion of creating a position for a security policy advisor and dedicated security policy unit under the prime minister.

Citing the position adopted by the Parliament’s Constitutional Law Committee, the office stated that the majority of matters to be discussed at Nato have fallen and will continue to fall within the purviews of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry for Foreign Affairs, according to YLE.

The current system, it estimated, is working well, founded on a clear division of labour and responsibilities, as well as on smooth and reliable co-operation with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

“Therefore the office does not consider it necessary or expedient to establish a new unit under the prime minister’s office under the guise of Nato membership,” the statement reads.

The division of responsibilities as pertains to membership in the defence alliance is governed by regulations that should be upheld to avoid “overlap and an unnecessary need for excessive coordination in preparation”. The office concluded that the proposal is both premature and oversized and likely founded on “an erroneous assumption” about a significant and continuous increase in Nato-related matters that require political steering.

President Niinistö commented on the statement on YLE A-talk on Thursday.

“We issued the statement because one was requested,” he said. “I’ve understood from these professional ministries that there’s hardly any need for [the role]. And if I think about my own experiences, I must say this current system is working tremendously nicely.”

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has similarly shot down the proposal, estimating that it could blur the division of responsibilities and re-allocate power from ministries to the prime minister’s office.

The prime minister’s office has argued that the security policy advisor and unit are required to support the prime minister on security policy issues in accordance with the requirements imposed by Nato membership. The position, it outlined, should be filled as soon as this spring to make sure the advisor is up to the task when the next prime minister takes office.

The proposal has been interpreted as an attempt to consolidate the role of the prime minister in foreign and security policy.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT