Finland- EU- Russia security — страница 6

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assist the Baltic states to help themselves - also by developing self-defence capabilities, push for their integration into Europe, and avoid taking measures that could complicate the position of the Baltic states. One of the constraints for Finnish and Swedish NATO membership has stemmed from the position of the Baltic states. Were Finland and Sweden to join NATO without the Baltic states, it could be assumed to increase Russian pressure on the Baltic states and consequently decrease Swedish and Finnish security. Even if Sweden and Finland recognise the importance of Baltic independence to their security, they are not willing to commit themselves to take responsibility for the security of the Baltic states. Finland and Sweden do not consider themselves capable of taking on such

a responsibility and emphasise, therefore, the importance of linking Baltic Sea security to European and transatlantic security.   Given recent developments, such as the possibility of NATO heading for a "Big Bang" enlargement process towards the East starting in 2002, the Nordics should obviously not put up (or be seen as putting up) obstacles in the way of Baltic NATO membership.   Despite the increasing similarity between the Finnish and Swedish security policies, there are still differences. Sweden shifted somewhat earlier than Finland towards open support for Baltic independence and by first taking the decision to apply for EU membership, while Finland seems to have moved ahead of Sweden later in integrating itself into the EU and in establishing links with NATO.

Today, however, both countries co-operate extensively with NATO, with Sweden now going full speed ahead in converting its Cold War anti-invasion defence into a flexible and fully NATO compatible national and international projection force.   While Sweden strongly underlined three issues – enlargement of the Union, engaging EU citizens in the activities and future of the Union, and environmental issues, to be handled by the Union members together - Finland sees itself putting more emphasis than Sweden on deepening the EU and in belonging to the core of the Union.   Geopolitics and historical experiences help to explain these differences. Finland has a long border with Russia, whose future is uncertain, and changes in Russia would more directly affect Finland than

Sweden.   Seeking protection is one of the motivations of Finland's policy on the EU and NATO. Membership of the EU, deepening the Union and co-operation with NATO, while still retaining the basic structure of its anti-invasion defence, are regarded in Finland as useful means to move the relationship with Russia into a multilateral context, to create reciprocity and to prepare for receiving outside assistance.   The Swedish emphasis on enlargement  reflects a gradual understanding as a means by which to handle the Baltic Sea security problems, i.e. securing a European home for the Baltic states. The Union thus provides an instrument for regional stability and security building. While Finland  may not regard joining NATO as a rational step due to the Russian

negative reaction, military alliances per se do not belong to the Swedish vision of a better all-European security system.   In brief, although Finland and Sweden have taken similar steps in their security policies since the Cold War, the motivations for their policies are not entirely identical. The future relationship between Finnish and Swedish security policies will depend on their membership of the European Union. The relationship between their security policies will, however, also depend on the situation in Russia. If Russia moves closer to Europe and becomes a benign power, it is probable that the common elements in the two security policies - based upon their common history and geographical affinity -will be emphasised. If, on the other hand, things start to go

fundamentally wrong in Russia, Finland and Sweden may be more likely to drift apart with their security policy choices. (from Finnish and Swedesh Security- Comparing National Policies, Bo Huldt, Teija Tiilikainen, Tapani Vaahtoranta and Anna Helkama-Rågård)     Sources: 1.  Security and defence policy, written for Virtual Finland by Janne Kuusela, adviser; Ministry of Defence, International Defence Policy Unit; 2. Security in a Changing Europe: A Finnish View Minister of Defense of Finland Anneli Taina; 3. Finnish and Swedesh Security- Comparing National Policies, Bo Huldt, Teija Tiilikainen, Tapani Vaahtoranta and Anna Helkama-Rågård.