Finnish Security and European Security Policy

  • September 01, 1996
  • Dr Stephen J Blank

In 1995 Finland joined the European Union (EU). This action culminated several years of a fundamental reorientation of Finnish security policy as Finland moved from the neutrality imposed on it by the Soviet Union to a policy with a priority on European integration through the European Union. Finland, in joining the EU, has retained its independent defense and security posture, even as it seeks to strengthen its standing abroad and gain added leverage, through the EU, for dealing with Russia. Finland's odyssey indicates much about two fundamental issues in European security: coping with Russia's crises, and the interrelationship between the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as providers of security for small states in Europe. Furthermore, Finland's proximity to Russia and the difficult history of Fenno-Russian relations have imposed on Finnish policymakers the need for penetrating and sober analysis of Finland's and Europe's security situation. Therefore, Finland's evolution from an imposed neutrality to overt participation in European integration merits our careful scrutiny and attention.