Britain follows with interest by Alexander Stubb the beginning of the presidency. Director of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a prominent British defense and security think tank Jonathan Eyal tells that Britain especially wants smooth cooperation in NATO from Finland without conditions.
It means that Finland does not strictly prohibit the presence of nuclear weapons either. The law banning nuclear explosives has been known during the negotiations for Finland’s NATO membership, but Eyal makes it clear that NATO assumes that the law will be changed in the long run, because there are no special conditions in the agreement.
– What is important for Britain is that there are no legal obstacles to the possible placement of nuclear weapons in the future. Not because we want to bring them to Finland, but because we don’t want to complicate the plans for future NATO operations, says Eyal.
He says that NATO does not want Finland to follow Norway’s model by making threshold questions.
– Many countries that have joined NATO have stayed away from some issues, such as Norway, which limits the number of foreign troops on its soil during peacetime. It was important that in the case of Finland and Sweden, neither of them have conditions that complicate NATO’s planning, says Eyal.
Jonathan Eyal wonders why nuclear weapons became such a significant part of the election debate in Finland.
– It’s not a serious matter, because no one is proposing to deploy nuclear weapons in Finland in the short term, he reflects.
According to Eyal, even the nuclear-weapon state Britain does not consider placing nuclear weapons in countries like Finland as a solution.
Finns do not understand their role in NATO
According to Eyali, it is not necessarily understood in Finland that the country’s great importance to NATO is Russia expertise.
– Finland offers its perspective on how to work with Russia. It is based on century-long, partly tragic experiences, says Eyal.
President Sauli Niinistö was called the Putin whisperer because he was able to independently analyze his activities and kept in touch to Vladimir Putin before the war in Ukraine. Eyali thinks it is important that the future president of Finland also answers Putin’s phone calls. The main thing is to maintain the voice connection. The content is a different matter.
– Finland cannot do anything about its geographical location, he reminds.
The president’s relationship with Britain is important
Eyal believes that the Finnish president’s relationship with Britain is important and will continue. Britain left the European Union four years ago, but it is an important partner in European security cooperation through NATO. Britain also leads the ten-nation JEF crisis management force, which includes Finland and other northern European countries.
Eyal says that Britain was worried that Brexit would push the country outside of European security cooperation to listen to the decisions made by others, but the war in Ukraine proved the fears unfounded. Britain is strongly involved in supporting Ukraine.
According to Eyali, the joining of Finland and Sweden to NATO will facilitate security discussions, which have been complicated by the consideration of the roles of the European Union and NATO in Europe.
– The crisis with Russia is so big that we cannot afford to play political games between NATO and the European Union, he says.
According to Eyali, Britain is happy about Finland’s participation in NATO’s peacetime missions. He cites as an example the planes of the Finnish Air Force participating in NATO’s air defense in Romania.
– London has been really happy with this. NATO has had a problem getting member countries in Europe interested in activities on the other side of the continent.