TALLINN, Sep 13, BNS – Estonian Minister of Defense Juri Luik and his Finnish counterpart Jussi Niinisto during their meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday discussed defense cooperation and matters related to the Zapad joint large scale military exercise of Russia and Belarus.
Luik and Niinisto talked about the regional security situation in view of the Zapad large scale exercise and bilateral defense cooperation, spokespeople for the Estonian Defense Ministry said.
Also discussed was defense cooperation within the European Union, which has been supported also by Finland.
During an informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Tallinn last week, the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the Estonian minister of defense both expressed hope that important decisions concerning EU defense cooperation will be reached already by the end of this year.
Finland is positively minded about EU defense cooperation and is waiting for practical solutions.
Luik also visited the Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki and laid wreaths to honor fallen soldiers.
HELSINKI, Sep 12, STT-BNS – Estonian Minister of Defense Jüri Luik is to visit Finland on Wednesday, the Finnish Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday.
Among others, Luik is to meet with Finnish Minister of Defense Jussi Niinisto, with whom he will discuss bilateral relations, the security situation on the Baltic Sea and bilateral and international cooperation, the ministry’s statement said.
Jüri Luik has held the positions of Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Estonian Minister of Defense and the permanent representative for Estonia in NATO. Currently he is the Estonian minister of Defence.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Luik was from 2003 – 2007 the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Estonia to Canada, the United Mexican States and the United States of America. He has been active in Estonian foreign affairs since 1991.
Finland and Sweden are now members of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). The British-led military force is a rapid response unit that can support NATO or UN troops anywhere in the world.
The two Nordic nations officially became part of the Joint Expeditionary Force in Stockholm on Friday, when Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö and his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist signed an agreement with British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. The latter called it “a force of friends.”
The JEF does not comprise of permanent troops, but instead each country is committed to offering units in the event of a crisis situation, whether that involves combat, deterrence or humanitarian support. Ground, air and naval forces are led by British commanders, while participating countries contribute specialist skills and troops.
Speaking about the agreement, Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö explained: “Finland will not get any kind of security guarantee, this is not a military alliance.” He went on to add that a potential crisis could be an epidemic, a natural disaster or a military matter.
Finland’s decision to join the military force comes as the latest in a series of steps the country has taken to strengthen its cooperation with NATO, which is widely viewed as the result of Russia’s behaviour in the Baltic region.
Speaking in February, when the UK first invited Finland to join the expeditionary force, Niinistö was quoted as saying that “Finland’s military performance needs to be updated” as a result of “the current global security environment.”
Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö on Tuesday authorised the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command to send an invitation to negotiate and a preliminary invitation to tender to three supplier candidates for the Squadron 2020 project.
The suppliers are Atlas Elektronik GmbH, Germany, Lockheed Martin Canada Inc, Canada, and Saab Ab, Sweden, said a government press release.
The battle system to be delivered will consist of weapons, sensors, command and control systems and their integration into vessels.
The Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy was in favour of sending the invitation to negotiate and the preliminary invitation to tender.
The first round of negotiations will be conducted in the course of 2017 and the deadline to submit a preliminary tender is in autumn 2017.
The second round of negotiations will be started at the end of 2017 and it will be continued in winter 2018. The final round of tenders and the signing of the agreement will take place during 2018.
At the end of last year, the Finnish Defence Forces’ Logistics Command will sent requests to 12 companies to participate in the tender procedure to deliver the battle system for the Squadron 2020 vessels.
Eight companies had sent a request to participate; of these, three were selected for the next stage. The Logistics Command evaluated the requests in cooperation with the Navy, the Defence Command and the Ministry of Defence and an external actor verified the independent nature and quality of the request procedure.
Integration expertise, technical competence, project competence, commercial and legal requirements, life cycle expertise, industrial cooperation, quality and safety were the criteria applied to select the companies.
Niinistö has now decided to establish an obligation of industrial cooperation for the Squadron 2020 project. The decision includes grounds for establishing the obligation and it supports the central objective in materiel policy: to ensure military security of supply in all situations.
The obligation aims at ensuring that the domestic defence industry is an integrated part of Finland’s defence and security of supply while also promoting international cooperation of defence industries.