6 January 2000                                                           

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"EU defence will make non-alignment redundant"

The military dimension emerging in the European Union will eventually make Finland’s non-aligned position redundant. This is the conclusion drawn by Dr. Teija Tiilikainen, a defence and security policy expert working at the University of Helsinki.

In an interview in Suomen Kuvalehti (1 January 2000), Dr. Tiilikainen says that many Finns are short-sighted when they claim that the EU is only establishing crisis management forces. She points out that the French, for instance, openly talk about EU regional defence.

Tiilikainen notes that during this year important decisions concerning EU defence will be made. As the Western European Union will be merged into the EU, commitment to collective defence will, in one way or another, be included in the EU charters, Tiilikainen says.

"Even if Finland does not sign up to the security guarantees, the outside world will see the situation differently. I don’t believe that the EU would remain inactive if a military conflict threatened Finland. We are in the EMU, for instance, which makes a threat against Finland a threat against the whole of EU. In this sense Finland’s non-aligned position will soon be something different compared to what it has meant in the past."

According to Tiilikainen, there is no doubt that the EU is moving towards military integration even if member countries differ in their view how this will be accomplished.

"Many people think that it doesn’t make any sense to create another military alliance in addition to NATO. France, however, is even prepared to cut the NATO connection. In this scenario, the European member countries of NATO and other EU countries would actually create their own defence alliance. A more probable scenario is that the EU military organisation would start to operate in close co-operation with NATO. In its own operations, EU would borrow NATO’s mobile headquarters and communication systems but would make independent decisions. This was, after all, strongly emphasised at the Helsinki Summit."

"In any case, it is self-evident that when soldiers begin to work under the Council of Ministers, they evaluate different threats and also prepare for military interventions when the need arises. This, after all, is their job", Tiilikainen concludes.


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