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Press Releases, 3/15/2017

President and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy discussed comprehensive security, hybrid matters, Finnish-US cooperation and participation in crisis management

Government Communications Department
Press release 110/2017
15 March 2017         

At their meeting on Wednesday 15 March, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy received the Security Committee’s reports on the security of society and developments in preparedness for hybrid threats.

The Security Committee monitors developments in the security of society and reports on its findings annually to the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy. Changes in the operating environment and disruptions that occurred in 2016 did not have a significant impact on the functions vital to society. Disruptions in society emphasise the importance of joint preparedness in accordance with the model for comprehensive security. There is room for improvement especially in security-related competences and resourcing of preparedness.

The Security Committee has followed the preparation for hybrid threats based on the report on hybrid threats, published in 2015. Favourable developments are seen in many sectors, such as in improved preparedness and situational awareness.

The President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy also discussed cooperation between Finland and the United States in the areas of security and the economy. The United States is an important partner for Finland not only in global and regional questions but also bilaterally. Transatlantic cooperation between the European Union and the United States plays a major role in European security and stability. It is important for Finland to promote economic relations with the United States while exercising influence on the global trade system as part of the European Union. Arctic cooperation will continue when Finland assumes the Chairmanship of the Arctic Council in May following the US Chairmanship.

Questions related to international crisis management were also discussed in the meeting.  Finland will continue active participation in international crisis management activities. Finland has approximately 390 soldiers currently participating in 12 military crisis management operations and approximately 120 experts in 20 civilian crisis management operations. The strength of personnel deployed in military crisis management activities will rise again to about 500 soldiers, as Finland will be replacing a French jaeger company from the operation’s Force Commander Reserve in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on 1 April 2017. The decision on this was made in October 2016 as part of Finland's response to the request for aid and assistance by France following the terrorist attacks in France in November 2015.  The Finnish personnel deployed in the UNIFIL operation is Finland’s largest contribution to crisis management at present. In the meeting, the President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy outlined that Finland will continue its participation in the EUNAVFOR MED operation Sophia in the Mediterranean until the end of 2018 with the current contribution of 10 soldiers at most. Additionally, Finland is preparing to continue participation in the Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Iraq until the end of 2018.

Marja Liivala, Senior Adviser (United States of America), tel.  +358 295 351 727,
Timo Kantola, Deputy Director General (crisis management), tel.  +358 295 140 317, Ministry for Foreign Affairs;
Otto Saxén (crisis management), Director of Unit, tel. +358 295 140 314, Ministry of Defence;
Vesa Valtonen, General Secretary, tel.  +358 295 140 700, Security Committee

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Updated 3/15/2017

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