Finnish President Sauli Niinistö will travel to London on Monday at the invitation of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) two-day summit.
The UK-led JEF is a framework for multilateral defense co-operation that also includes the five Nordic countries, the three Baltic countries and the Netherlands.
An important meeting for Finland
Mika AaltolaThe director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) told Yle that he believed the meeting was especially important for Finland in the background of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
The United Kingdom is a key member of NATO and also a nuclear-weapon state, and Aaltola added that Finland’s co-operation with Britain, which has seceded from the EU, in defense and security matters is in a good position and has not suffered a decline. brexit.
"Especially in these circumstances, we benefit a lot from Britain," Aaltola said.
Finland has intensified co-operation with both the United States and its Nordic neighbor Sweden since the Russian occupation of Ukraine, and Aaltola said that there are no obstacles to strengthening relations with Britain either.
Johnson holds separate meetings with Finnish and Swedish leaders
The British Prime Minister’s Office also said Johnson was hosting the group for dinner at Checkers – the official rural residence of the British Prime Ministers since 1921 – on Monday night. month.
The summit will meet again in London on Tuesday, and Johnson is expected to meet with Finnish and Swedish leaders separately at his official residence on Downing Street on Tuesday afternoon.
Niinistö and the Prime Minister of Sweden Magdalena Andersson a bilateral meeting is also scheduled to take place in London during the trip.
The latest All Points North podcast examines how Finnish politicians, companies and the public have reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
JEF cooperation does not rule out a NATO option
In Aaltola’s view, Finland’s co-operation with JEF can be both useful and flexible, as enhancing defense training is important for curbing Russia and understanding common responsibilities.
"There are potentially strong enough forces on the ground for smaller military operations, including defense in the Baltic and Nordic regions. That goes to the heart of the matter," he said.
There is a close relationship between JEF and NATO, Aaltola added, which feeds Finland’s possible membership in the military alliance.
"A step towards strengthening Western defense cooperation can be taken safely to and from NATO. The two options are not mutually exclusive," He said and added that Finland must also take into account issues at the operational level in both the Nordic and Baltic countries.
An extensive international military exercise will be held in Norway on Monday, with soldiers from more than 25 countries participating. The Finnish Defense Forces will also take part in the exercise.
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Source: The Nordic Page