Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

Helsinki, 25 August 2023

A year ago, Finland and the United States opened negotiations on a new defence cooperation agreement. So far, three rounds of negotiations have been completed. Concluding the negotiations is an objective included in Finland’s new Government Programme. The Finnish Parliament needs to accept the agreement before it can be adopted. The agreement will reinforce Finland’s security and promote the fulfilment of NATO membership obligations.

Security and defence cooperation between Finland and the United States is based on shared needs and objectives, and on a sustained approach to long-time cooperation between the defence administrations and with other parties. In August 2022, Finland opened negotiations with the United States on a new bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA). The United States is one of Finland’s most important allies, and the new Government Programme includes an objective to conclude the DCA negotiations.

The DCA will be a binding international agreement and it will provide an up-to-date framework for cooperation between Finland and the United States. The provisions of the DCA will mainly be based on the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (NATO SOFA). The DCA clarifies the rules for cooperation and allows the parties to deepen it in all security situations. In this way, the DCA will reinforce Finland’s security and contribute to the fulfilment of Finland’s obligations as a member of NATO.

The DCA deals with practical issues such as the entry of troops, prepositioning of equipment, and taxation. The DCA specifies the locations where the cooperation and collaboration between Finland and the United States would primarily focus. Going forward, the DCA will enable the United States to make use of Congress funding for possible infrastructure investments in Finland.

Several other NATO countries have a similar bilateral agreement with the United States. Of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania already have an agreement in place, and Sweden and Denmark are in the process of negotiating theirs. The change in the security environment in Finland and Europe as a result of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine further emphasises the importance of bilateral cooperation that fits a range of different security situations.

Finland’s membership in NATO will not diminish the importance of bilateral cooperation with the United States. Instead, it will open up new opportunities and promote Finland’s contribution to NATO’s collective defence.

So far, the parties have concluded three rounds of the DCA negotiations, conducted by a delegation appointed by the President of the Republic. The entire Government participates extensively in the delegation’s work. The agreement must be signed, adopted and brought into force in accordance with Finland’s Constitution. Parliament needs to accept the agreement before it can be adopted.

Source – Finnish Government

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