Helsinki Think Tank in the news 

"Not poking the bear" no longer 

enough to guard safety, experts say

Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin 

called in a joint statement on Thursday for their country to apply 

to join NATO “without delay.” Finland is set to make an official 

decision on Sunday after the motion is approved by parliament.

Neighboring Sweden is expected to announce a similar decision 

on Sunday as well.

The move comes after Finland, and Sweden on Wednesday signed 

parallel security pacts with the UK during a visit by British Prime 

Minister Boris Johnson.

Michael Hulden, chairman of the Helsinki Think Tank, told 

The Media Line the move toward NATO is strategically significant.

“Russia has said that it will retaliate with more than words, and 

the most delicate time would be from the moment that Finland 

applies [for membership in the Western alliance], to the moment 

when it is approved,” he said.

By signing the mutual protection agreement with the UK, Finland 

has acquired “the safety needed to cover the time needed for 

becoming a full NATO member,” Hulden said.

Alice Gower, director of geopolitics and security at London-based 

strategic advisory firm Azure Strategy, said in an interview with 

The Media Line that the aggressive and unprovoked nature of 

President Vladimir Putin’s actions against Ukraine has brought 

into stark relief the threat that Russia poses to these Nordic states.

“Where fear of irking Russia has previously prevented the states 

from choosing an alliance one way or the other, Russia’s unilateral 

invasion of Ukraine has shifted the thinking publicly and within 

government,” she added. It is no longer enough to be passive, 

Gower continued. “States must take the initiative and preemptively 

protect themselves to prevent a similar attack against their interests.”

Maria Mekri, the executive director at SaferGlobe, Finland’s 

leading independent peace and security think tank, told The Media 

Line the invasion of Ukraine is just one action in a long series that 

has shown Europe the nature of Russia’s intentions.

The expected NATO applications were not prompted by the Ukraine 

invasion per se, she said, “but rather by the change in the security 

environment in Europe and the awareness of Russia’s irrational 

and detrimental actions.”

Gower noted that Putin’s actions in Ukraine have forced these 

countries to reconsider their national security posture and reassess 

the Russian threat.

Finland shares a 1,340-km. (830-mile) border with Russia, one 

that is difficult to patrol and defend from any attack from the east, 

she added. Joining NATO would assure military protection from 

the organization’s members, “a fact that Finland and Sweden 

hope would act as a sufficient deterrent to Moscow,” she said.

As soon as the two countries become NATO members, Article 5 

of the North Atlantic Treaty would cover them.

Article 5 commits each member state to consider an armed attack 

against one member state, in Europe or North America, to be an 

armed attack against them all. Upon such an attack, each member 

state is to assist by taking “such action as [the member state] 

deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and 

maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Hulden said that if Sweden and Finland join the alliance, 

the Nordic countries will be “a big NATO corridor neighboring 

Russia even by sea.”

Helsinki 11.5.2022

Finlands President Niinistö and Britains Prime minister 

today signed a treaty on bilateral security. 

United Kingdom – Finland statement

The Republic of Finland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland

reiterate our shared desire for ever deeper defence and security cooperation that 

is fit for any circumstances.

We are committed to defending the principles of the European security order. 

In light of the deterioration of the security situation in Europe, we wish to further 

intensify our security and defence cooperation and strengthen our mutual solidarity. 

We will build on our current, established cooperation and work together to further 

develop our capabilities.

We condemn the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine and call on the Russian 

Federation to immediately cease hostilities, withdraw its troops from Ukraine and 

seriously engage in peace negotiations.  

We have been increasing support for Ukraine, including deliveries of lethal material, 

and are committed to helping the Ukrainians in rebuilding their country when 

Russia´s military offensive ends.

Finland welcomes the United Kingdom´s strong commitment to the security of the 

Baltic Sea region, including British troops in Estonia as a part of NATO´s presence 

and the United Kingdom led Joint Expeditionary Force, of which Finland is 

committed member.

The United Kingdom is unwavering in its commitment to NATO´s ‘open door’ policy. 

The United Kingdom welcomes Finland’s role in providing security in the Baltic Sea 

region, in Northern Europe and beyond. The United Kingdom firmly believes that, 

should Finland decide to apply for NATO membership, it would contribute to the 

security of the whole North Atlantic area. Finland and the United Kingdom share 

common security interests and the United Kingdom stands ready to assist Finland 

in its endeavours by all means necessary.

We confirmed that, should either country suffer a disaster or an attack, the 

United Kingdom and Finland will, upon request from the affected country, a

ssist each other in a variety of ways, which may include military means. 

This cooperation will remain fully in line with each country’s security and 

defence policy and is designed to complement not replace existing European 

and Euro-Atlantic cooperation.

The United Kingdom and Finland will intensify and deepen their cooperation, 

including in countering hybrid threats and influence activities. Information 

sharing, including intelligence cooperation, has an important role to play in 

countering hybrid threats and protecting critical infrastructure. Both countries 

will work together on shared situation awareness, enhancing data protection 

and countering cyber threats.

We will maintain regular bilateral consultations on foreign and security policy 

issues, which serve an important role in deepening the partnership between 

the United Kingdom and Finland.

The long-standing and strong British-Finnish defence relationship contributes 

to stability and security in Northern Europe. Bilateral defence cooperation 

between the United Kingdom and Finland builds on the Framework Arrangement, 

signed in 2016. We will update this in order to further deepen and strengthen 

our cooperation and take into account changes in the security environment.

This document is a political declaration and not a legally binding commitment 

under international law.






President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin 

held a joint press conference at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, 24 February 2022. 

Following the President and the Prime Minister, the press conference continued with 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto and Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen.

In his opening remarks, the President stated that Finland is demanding an immediate 

end to hostilities:

“Despite the advance warnings, this morning has been a shock to us all and we feel 

deeply for the people of Ukraine. In Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol and elsewhere, innocent 

people are now experiencing the horrors of war. Russia has massively expanded hostilities 

in Ukraine and now the mask has come off. Only the cold face of war is visible. 

Finland strongly condemns Russia’s actions and warfare, and demands an immediate end 

to hostilities.

Here, dialogue did not work, despite long and relentless negotiations on many levels. 

The position of the UN Security Council last week, where Russia remained isolated, 

did not work either. Now we are on a different path. The UN Security Council will 

surely meet today, and the entire international community has condemned Russia’s 

actions. The United States and the European Union will today discuss additional 

sanctions, that is a different path’s response.

We, here in Finland, are keeping in close contact with all our partners. I myself just 

spoke this morning with the Prime Minister of Sweden. It is understandable that many 

Finns are now feeling afraid. I emphasise that there is no current threat against Finland. 

But this surely will have, and has already had, an effect. 

We are always carefully prepared for different scenarios, though we have made no big 

issue of this, but I would like to end this short address by assuring that we are on top 

of the situation and will remain so.”


The way that any nation should look at themselves in order to function better 

and more efficient! In times when political party pre - election attitudes 

continue to disrupt national interests.

"Impression and summarizing aka Lesson learned In brief by HTT"

We've changed govts five times"! The Finnish  President then called 
for return to "old normal" in Finnish politics!
President Sauli Niinistö said that he had heard polarizing talk from
 government parties about "our demands" and  "their proposals".

President Sauli Niinistö called on lawmakers to seek the common interest 
of the nation he reminded MPs that during the past decade, the government has 
changed several times and that the "old normal" was for government policy to 
last four years.

"During this decade, we have already changed governments five times; 
on average, this is more than once every second year. 

The old normal was solid government policy shaped over a full four-year term,
he declared.
President Niinistö urged the incoming government to stand behind joint decisions,
rather than continue the divisive rhetoric of pre-election campaigning..
These are the exact words we would need to heard at many nations today 
Who's political parties selfishly endanger national credibility and stability.
He urged EU member states to come together to identify areas of commonality 
rather than focus on internal squabbles within the bloc.
"The tectonic plates of geopolitics are shifting, and Europe is facing external 
pressures and temptations from different directions. We can only thwart them 
together, within the framework of a well-functioning European Union. 
Otherwise we run the risk of allowing Europe to fall apart into different spheres 
of interest," Niinistö said.

"End of HTT´s own impression and lessons learned"

Original Speech held by Sauli Niinistö 
President of the Republic of Finland
At the opening of Parliament 
25th April 2019

Honourable Mr Speaker, Honourable representatives of the Finnish people,
The Parliament which begins its work today looks again quite different from its 
predecessor that went out two weeks ago. The power relationships between the 
parties have changed. 
The number of women in Parliament is now higher than ever before. The average 
age of Members of Parliament is lower. In addition to those members who held on 
to their seats or returned, I see almost as many new faces.
This renewal shows that our democracy is alive and well. It is particularly significant 
that we saw the highest voter turnout in decades this spring.

* * *

Honourable representatives of the Finnish people,
I heartily congratulate each one of you for being elected.
One hundred years ago Max Weber, a German political scientist, defined politics 
as a strong and slow boring of hard boards. He described politics as a vocation and 
a calling, which takes both passion and perspective, a sense of proportion.
For the duration of this electoral period, the following four years, politics will be a vocation 
for each one of you. I do not doubt your calling and passion for it. The mandate you have 
received from the people comes with a great responsibility. When carrying this responsibility, 
it is important to bear in mind the perspective Weber called for.
Before the election, differences are sought between competitors. Now you must seek the 
common interest of the nation. Rather than widening the gaps, your task here is to bridge 
them, to take care of our common issues. There are plenty of hard boards in front of you. 
You can only cope with this work together.

* * *

The intense excitement of an election spring is now followed by negotiations to form 
a government. At this point, a look back might give something worth remembering. 
During this decade, we have already changed governments five times; on average, this is 
more than once every second year. The old normal was solid government policy shaped 
over a full four-year term.
I stress the importance of commitment. At the individual level, this applies to both the 
Government members to be appointed and to you, Members of Parliament. 
The trust expressed by the voters is also trust in the complete fulfillment of the task.
At the party level, the Government undertakes to work together. The formal word to describe 
the way the Government works is collegial; this means that the members of the Government 
make decisions and stand behind them together.
It has been striking to hear, also outside the context of the health and social services reform, 
the Government Programme or a decision made by the Government being characterised as 
something that was “our demand”, whereas that was “proposed by them”.
It is equally striking when you hear a Government decision being described as 
“just the policy of this or that minister”.
Each political party in the Government has its own goals, but when these goals have been 
reconciled, the Government only has one working method: the collegial one. 
When you make a decision together, you will stand behind it together.

* * *

During my term of office, I have had the habit of inviting the chairpersons of all 
parliamentary parties to a joint discussion. These discussions have focused especially on 
topics related to security, often sensitive issues. 
Our discussions have always been constructive, and I believe they have given food 
for thought also for others, besides myself.

The world is full of anger and evil. Suffering caused by terrorism was most recently 
experienced in the bloodbath of Sri Lanka over Easter. The weapons never fall silent 
around the world. Calculating power policy has returned.
The good must be steadfast. 
I would also like to repeat this to the new Parliament. Our security is something we should 
talk about together. 
If you would like to continue the old custom, I will be at your disposal.

* * *

The next election is approaching, the new Members of the European Parliament 
will be elected in a month’s time. I think we should improve our voter turnout 
in this election, too; it would be a very good start for Finland’s Presidency!
And many other good things would also be needed to improve the way in 
which we see the Union. 
If a European person in the street were asked about his or her opinion of what 
is going on in the Union, the answer would probably be that there seem to be 
lots of quarrels.

At the beginning of Finland’s Presidency, it would be tempting to put to the 
Member States the basic question of relationship problems: 
do we have anything in common?
I am an optimist: I believe we do. 
At least we have plenty of reasons to find something in common. 
The tectonic plates of geopolitics are shifting, and Europe is facing external 
pressures and temptations from different directions. 
We can only thwart them together, within the framework of a well-functioning 
European Union. 
Otherwise we run the risk of allowing Europe to fall apart into different spheres 
of interest.

Security is something else we have in common. It is one of the priorities of 
Finland’s Presidency. 
There is no shortage of topics: combating terrorism, arms control, everything 
related to cyber and hybrid threats and artificial intelligence, climate change, 
migration – all issues that cannot be managed without close cooperation.

Europe is also the most highly evolved economic area in the world. 
Free economic activity creates opportunities and also contributes to the 
prosperity of the Finnish people.
And last but not least: our common values from which the European spirit stems.

It has been said that this spirit originates from the triangle formed by Jerusalem, 
Athens and Rome. 

The religion and ethics, culture and order inherited from them have been refined 
to create a Europe of democracy, equality and human rights. 
Let us hold on to these values.

* * *

The task you are now beginning will demand much of you. And by this 
I do not mean only the hard work burden but also the trials you will 
encounter as individuals, as human beings.
Before the election, there was a broad concern about the heated atmosphere 
which was expressed as words on the social media and even as acts of 
violence in the field. 
The feelings are now cooling down, but a vicious circle can easily leave 
some traces behind. You will certainly be facing unpleasantries even evil 
and maliciousness. 
For outsiders it is easy to say that you should just ignore it, but as a target 
you cannot help feeling it inside.
Even if the issues argue here, we must respect each other. And this respect 
does not know the boundaries of political parties. A discussion conducted in 
this manner would also set an example for the general public.

An election held is always a victory for democracy. The Finnish nation now 
looks up to you as symbols of representative democracy. Carry on the triumph 
of democracy, boldly and with the confidence that the voters also showed in you.

* * *

Mr Speaker, Honoured representatives of the Finnish nation,
I congratulate the presidency for the support you have received. I
 wish you all success and wisdom in your demanding work for Finland. 
I declare the 2019 Parliament open.

Published by Helsinki Think Tank with the permission given by
Office of the President of the Republic of Finland.

Original link to the speech which was held by President of Finland
© Office of the President of the Republic of Finland 2019


Europe is now in the midst of its own years of danger

"Europe is now in the midst of its own years of danger. An arc of instability and violence 
stretching from Ukraine to the Middle East and North Africa lies on its fringes", 
said President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö in the Finnish Parliament Annex on 25 August. 
"[T]he international system is now undergoing a profound transformation marked by major 
uncertainty and accumulating problems", he added. "At the same time, Europe is in a period 
of internal flux, of which the Greek debt crisis and its management is one, but not the only, sign".

In his speech to the heads of Finland's diplomatic missions abroad, the President referred 
to issues such as the Ukraine conflict, international terrorism, immigration and the key pillars
 of Finland's security and defence policy.

The confrontation between the west and Russia

President Niinistö stated that the implementation of the Minsk Agreements would clear 
a path to ending military activities and pacifying the situation. 
It should also be noted that a wider confrontation between the west and Russia underlies 
the Ukraine conflict. "For the west, principles and rules are the key issue. 
Will Europe's mutually agreed security principles and rules hold?" asked the President. 
"For Russia, the self-same crisis is perhaps about geopolitics and the balance of power.
Of course, it is natural that we view the issue from our own starting points. But so too 
do the Russians. Herein may lie the basic problem. "On the southern reaches of the arc of 
instability and violence – in the Middle East – the very structures that held the region together 
have given way, leading to a catastrophe. " The world has witnessed horrors such as the brutal 
terrorism of ISIS, which seems to be systematically directed at women and children as well 
as men", the President said. 
However, the fight against terrorism and ISIS has brought the United States and Russia into 
closer, communicative contact with each other. "Finland is fulfilling its responsibilities 
on her own part by participating in the international coalition's training mission in Erbil."

Moderation and sound judgement in facing the immigration challenge

President Niinistö believes that huge-scale, rapidly growing is a phenomenon partly caused by the 
prevailing instability. "Both the oppressed and those simply seeking a better life are being 
drawn to Europe. 
We are conflicted on this issue. As a civilised, humane people, we are honour-bound to help 
these migrants. On the other hand, we are aware that the unstable situation in the Middle East 
and Africa cannot be resolved by moving more and more people to Europe. 
We are approaching the limits of our capacity for this, even if these limits are somewhat different 
for different countries. "
The President pointed out that failure to deal with this problem will have serious consequences 
in Europe. "We need an open discussion and a clear and credible, effective policy which has 
the support of the majority of the people. 
We need to decide on the direction in which we want to take this issue. 
Should we help people here or abroad?" 
President Niinistö comment that we will be better able to respond to the immigration challenge 
if we keep our heads and take a moderate approach.

The key line of defence lies between the ears of Finns

President Niinistö told the ambassadors that, in pursuit of our national security, we need 
continual evaluation and practical steps. "After all, as I stated at the beginning of this speech, 
we probably face a long period of uncertainty and risk. Despite our global obligations, we are 
unconditionally and primarily responsible for our own country and its future. "
Finland's security is a holistic entity, resting on several pillars.
 " These pillars are national defence and security, western integration, relations with Russia, 
and the international system, particularly its structure, rule-based nature and manageability. 
These pillars are ever-changing – they are weakened or strengthened by events. 
They also continually interact. The more pillars on which we rest, the stronger they are from 
our viewpoint, and the better the balance between them the stronger a position Finland is in. "
"We need to strengthen and modernise our defences. The same is true of our internal security 
and intelligence capabilities," commented President Niinistö. 
"Our key line of defence always lies between the ears of Finns. Each and every Finn is a defender 
of his or her country."

"In addition to national and regional concerns, we are being confronted with challenges – such as 
climate change – which supersede all others. While giving primacy to resolving issues that 
affect us in particular, we also need to participate in finding solutions to problems that affect everyone."

Published with permission by The Presidents Office  (TPK)  Helsinki Finland. 2nd Sept 2015