Colonel Mika Rytkönen at the information event organized by the Finnish Border Guard regarding the border fence project on the eastern border in Imatra on April 14th, 2023. LEHTIKUVA

Finland in the world press

Finland allocates €18.9 million for improving border security & supporting visa policy

Finland’s announcement to allocate more than €18 million in four different projects to improve border security and support visa policy was covered in an article on Travel Daily Media on April 13.

The article gives details of how the fund by European Union’s instrument for border management and visas will be used to boost surveillance capabilities of the Border Guard and improve information systems and visa process.

The article also looks into the projects which will be benefitting from the funding with amount allocated for each project based on the statement from the Finnish Ministry of the Interior. The major chunk of the fund, €14,196,307, is stipulated for purchasing a new patrol ship and other surveillance equipment.

An amount of €613,000 will be used to implement the changes necessary to comply with the amended Visa Information System (VIS) regulation. “The project develops the functions of the visa information system so that the system can meet the requirements of the revised EU regulations, effectively support the application procedures and make it compatible with the EU Central Visa Information System (CVIS) and other comprehensive information systems within the EU,” the Ministry statement says.

The article mentions that €43.9 million of the total amount of €78 million allocated for border security and improved visa policy in Finland have been made available up until now. The procedures for the allocation of the rest are expected to begin in autumn 2023.

Original story was published by Travel Daily Media on 13.04.2023 and can be found here.

Fact-check: Is Russia moving nuclear equipment near Finland's border?

The story about Russia deploying nuclear equipment near the Finnish border was debunked by Euronews on April 13. The article starts with mentioning the Finland’s latest accession to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia’s announcement to take “countermeasures” and ramp up its defence on the 1,300 kilometres it shares with Finland. However it looks into the misinformation that spread on social media following this.

The article takes example of a viral video which claims that nuclear equipment arrived in the Russian city of Vyborg, near the Finnish border. “But internet sleuths were quick to find the location of the clip. They geolocated it to a town northeast of the capital of Moscow, called Kolchugino. Google Street View shows the exact same buildings and intersection which match the video on Twitter,” the article reads.

The article identifies the missiles in the clip as RS-24 Yars rocket systems handled by Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, capable of launching nuclear warheads, according to Snopes. However it adds that their passage in the city centre is also typical of parades. It also provides a video clip from last year’s Victory Day parade in Russia which showcases the same of sorts of missiles and other impressive equipment that are used every year.

Original story was published by Euronews on 13.04.2023 and can be found here.

Sweden and Finland make advances in quantum computing

The article about recent advances made in quantum computing in the Nordic region by Sweden and Finland was published in on April 13. The article looks at the examples of Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers UoT) securing an additional €9 million to build and make available a copy of its quantum computer and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland’s spin-out of SemiQon, to develop more affordable quantum computers utilizing newly created semiconductor qubit technology.

It explains that the special conditions under which the funding is being released to Chalmers UoT marks a significant development in the quantum computing venture. The institution is required to share the benefits arising from the research, knowledge building and commercial stages of the project with Sweden’s IT industry and tech research organizations.

Similarly, it highlights that in Finland, the expansion of VTT’s footprint in the quantum computer space has resulted in the state research organization spinning out SemiQon under a pre-seeding capital funding agreement with Voima Ventures, one of Finland’s leading deep technology-investors.

“The next stage in SemiQon’s journey is to make quantum computers significantly more capable of solving some of the world’s greatest challenges,” Himadri Majumdar, the CEO of SemiQon said, according to the article.

Original story was published by on 13.04.2023 and can be found here.

Opinion: Now that Finland is part of NATO, can it help Ukraine?

The opinion piece about Finland joining NATO in the backdrop of ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine was published in Los Angeles Times on April 6. The article ponders how Finland as a new NATO member will be able to contribute in helping Ukraine.

The article mentions that Finland is already an ardent supporter of Ukraine. It highlights that although Finland has contributed large sums and military equipment — around 900 million euros so far, it will not bring significantly more funds or ammunition to the fight as a NATO member.

“Western leaders have overstated the extent to which Finland’s military power can beef up efforts against Russia. Instead, the conflict is increasingly dependent on manpower and ammunition constraints on both sides, as the fighting intensifies over small areas of the map,” the article reads.

The article also suggests that NATO’s expansion to Finland doesn’t do much to improve European defense more broadly. “But after the shock of last year’s invasion of Ukraine, many European states are falling back into old habits: relying on the U.S. to provide on-the-ground security in Eastern Europe, failing to develop appropriate military forces, and defaulting to protectionism rather than building a common European defense-industrial base,” the article says.

The author Emma Ashford is a senior fellow at the Stimson Center and an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program.

Original story was published by Los Angeles Times on 06.04.2023 and can be found here.

Finland’s NATO Move Leaves Others to Carry On the “Helsinki Spirit”

The article about Finland ending its stance of neutrality and joining NATO was published in Common Dreams on April 11.  The opinion piece discusses Finland’s recent membership in NATO and argues that it marks the end of Finland’s tradition of neutrality and peacemaking. It highlights Finland’s long-standing policy of neutrality and its history of successful neutrality during and after the Cold War.

The article gives background on the Finnish public support for NATO which saw an immense increase after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. However it also explores Finland’s association with NATO in past years with  1997 Partnership of Peace program and sending 200 troops to Afghanistan as part of the UN-authorized International Security Assistance Force after the 2001 U.S. invasion.

It also mentions the December 2022 review of Finland’s role in Afghanistan by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs which found that the Finnish troops “repeatedly engaged in combat as part of the military operation that was now led by NATO, and had become a party in the conflict,” and that Finland’s proclaimed objective, which was “to stabilize and support Afghanistan to enhance international peace and security” was outweighed by “its desire to maintain and strengthen its foreign and security policy relations with the U.S. and other international partners, as well as its effort to deepen its collaboration with NATO.”

“In other words, like other small NATO-allied countries, Finland was unable, in the midst of an escalating war, to uphold its own priorities and values, and instead allowed its desire to deepen its collaboration with the United States and NATO to take precedence over its original aim of trying to help the people of Afghanistan to recover peace and stability,” the article reads.

The author Medea Benjamin is co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace. The author Nicolas J. S. Davies is an independent journalist and a researcher with CODEPINK.

Original story was published by Common Dreams on 11.04.2023 and can be found here.