Tuomioja eyes defense alliance with Sweden

Erkki Tuomioja is Minister of Foreign Affairs in Finland.

Erkki Tuomioja, likely the only Foreign Minister in Europe with a peace symbol button on his blazer, says defense cooperation with Sweden will come step-by-step.


Tuomoija believes it will benefit the Nordic countries to cooperate on exercises, purchases and crisis management.

Speaking at seminar in Stockholm on the 75-years anniversary of Finland’s Winter War with Russia, Finland’s Foreign Minister said the military cooperation will come step-by-step.

“Our defense cooperation must go forward progressively so that each step in itself is beneficial for both countries, whether and when next step is taken,” Erkki Tuomioja said according to YLE.

He sees a more coordinated military cooperation in context with a wider cooperation and coordination of foreign- and security policy.

“…I do not exclude that within five, ten or fiftheen years, we may come to the conclusion that a bilateral defense alliance becomes possible and welcomed, although this is not our goal today,” Tuomioja said.

Last summer, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin envoy warned Finland against joining NATO. Putin’s support to separatists in Eastern Ukraine is, however, only pushing Finland closer to NATO. A survey made for YLE in January shows that a clear majority of Finns – 63 percent – say that an advisory referendum would be the best way to decide whether or not Finland should join NATO. Finland is, like Sweden, today a NATO partner.

The new security situation in Europe was highlighted when the Nordic Defense Ministers met in Tromsø last spring, concluding the importance of strengthening joint military cooperation.