Suomen ulkopolitiikan asiakirja-arkisto ja kronologia
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Foreign Minister Pertti Paasio at Eurooppa-instituutti in Turku, May 11, 1990


Ladies and gentlemen,

For more than four decades Europe was in a rigid, immobile state. The division of the continent ensured peace, but prevented natural interaction. Now previously repressed needs for change are being
released. Europe is seeking a kind of internal equilibrium.

For her part, Finland has long worked to eliminate the remaining barriers on our Continent. In 1962 President Urho Kekkonen stated that "it is the heartfelt desire of the Finnish people to lower the barriers dividing our Continent in order to strengthen European unity". We have gone a long way toward achieving this goal.

The structures of cooperation and interaction are growing stronger. Nevertheless, uncertainty will continue to characterize international politics in the 1990s. We will also have to deal with unknown equations and phenomena.

Nuclear weapons pose a Damoclean threat to all mankind. Although the energy crisis of the 1970s reinforced our awareness of common threats, it was not until the ecological catastrophes of the 1980s that man's concept of security truly began to change; at the same time - at least in the more developed parts of the world - a more determined effort to break free from a one-sided military approach to security began. This trend was accelerated by the spiralling cost of arms build-up.

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In the 1990s we are on the threshold of a new system of European security. The structures of co-operation and interaction have grown stronger in pace with political change in Europe to the extent that the resort to arms as a solution in relations between nations has lost its significance. This is a tremendous achievement.

Although there are indeed conflicts in Europe, and even factors that fuel violence, the old patterns of hostility on our Continent are no longer credible.

The international order is always in flux, although the process is now apparently accelerating and difficult to predict. The preservation of peace will depend essentially on the extent to which change is controlled and how it can be encouraged to take a constructive course.

Change in Europe has in essence been a gradual process, with the exception of the dramatic strides taken in 1989. The next step will involve reappraisal of the functions and role of military alliances.

The military alliances are changing, although for the time being they will remain structural components of the European security system. At present, the speed and depth of change in them will be difficult to predict. Independently of this process there is increasing debate in alliance members - and throughout Europe for that matter - concerning the need for new types of security systems covering the entire Continent.

Progress will depend greatly on how the alliances assess their function, both military and political, as the conditions of European security change.

If we take a global view - war, including even a major conflict - can be written off as a purely historical phenomenon.

Even now, the risk of escalated violence in the Middle East is great. The strategic significance of the region with respect to world oil production is well known. Antagonism between the Arab states and Israel continues; the Palestine question is still awaiting solution. In that region the patterns of hostility are straightforward, and the price of war is apparently not yet considered too high. There are serious ideological and religious conflicts in the background. Rising tensions in relations between India and Pakistan are rooted in both religious conflict and disputes over possession of territory. There, too, suspicion should be dispelled before it is too late.

The process of change in international politics has not yet had an impact on Finland's position. We can best confront such change by relying on the established tenets of our foreign policy: the maintenance of good relations with our neighbours and a policy of neutrality. This will require both flexibility and the necessary initiative on our part.

It is already apparent that the current decade will require greater effort and more innovation on the part of the international community if peace and stable development are to be ensured.

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Thus the needs for security are changing. This will necessitate more diverse means. The following tasks confront Finland:

1. Participation in the development of a new security system, primarily within the CSCE process;

2. Charting of new security problems and development of the necessary solutions, primarily in our own region, but globally as well;

3. Participation in economic integration, and economic support for the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.

Co-operation in Europe contains both permanent features and factors that are in continuous flux. In recent months the structures of co-operation in our own region have risen to the fore.

I consider it vital that Finland and Sweden, as neutral Nordic countries, further increase their co-operation to improve security in Europe. This has become more important now that the regional approach to security is partly replacing the structures of division. This is crucial to development of a framework of co¬operation for the common European home.

Our Continent will continually require new and better arrangements with which countries can share responsibility for security more effectively.

The time has come to make the CSCE the foundation of European security.

We now have a unique opportunity to do so, since the ideological barriers separating nations have for all practical purposes been lowered. The recent CSCE economic conference in Bonn is an excellent example of this.

One of the fundamental insights of the CSCE has been a broad view of security. The practical implementation of this view during the Great Divide was often severely restricted; positions were deadlocked. Although the concepts used in discussion were purportedly common, they often meant different things to different people. This is no longer true.

We can actually see a unified supranational Europe in which security is not provided by military preparedness, but instead by respecting human rights, by sharing economic prosperity, through openness and interaction, and by adapting economies to ecological needs.

There is particular interest in the CSCE process in a rapidly changing Europe, as the broad concept of security offered by the CSCE is timely.

The CSCE is becoming an inclusive community of all European nations responsible for the security of our Continent, now that Albania has also stated its readiness to join. The Government of Finland greets the Albanian announcement with satisfaction.

The CSCE is a vehicle for both change and stability. Security in Europe concerns all parties involved, and therefore they must be treated as an entity. The CSCE is a unique forum for this.

The CSCE is a process, and not an organization. It does not have a permanent secretariat of any kind. Nevertheless, it has proved valuable to all participating States, regardless of changes in international relations. The flexibility of the CSCE and its capacity for change are undoubtedly one reason why the CSCE is now especially vital and interesting.

In the CSCE decisions are not reached by vote, but through concensus. The only possible decisions are those on which unanimity has been reached. This method is undeniably timeconsuming and arduous. The content of the documents approved, however, is the most important criterion. The most recent examples - the concluding document of the Vienna follow-up conference and the documents of the CSCE economic conference in Bonn - show that decisions of far-reaching content can be reached.

The documents of the CSCE are multilayered fabrics of the interests of participating states. In negotiating these documents each participating state also has to assess its prospects for approving proposals not necessarily to its liking. To offset these there are proposals that promote national objectives. And when all parties are of the opinion that the advantages of a likely end result outweigh the disadvantages, significant achievements can be made.

Follow-up is what lends continuity to the CSCE and makes it dynamic. Finland stressed the importance of follow-up in both human rights and other areas covered by the CSCE when the Helsinki Final Act was negotiated; implementation of practical measures should be evaluated jointly.

In accepting the principle of follow-up each participating state also accepted the fact that it would be held publicly and repeatedly accountable for carrying out the commitments it had made. Thus neglect of implementation has a political price. Neither does failure to implement provisions of the acts release a participating state from observing them in the future.

This is what makes the CSCE dynamic, and it is undoubtedly the driving force behind internal reform in many participating states.

Although the CSCE is not an organization, in actuality it is permanently in session. The programme approved at the Vienna follow-up conference in January 1989 was broad and inclusive. Each of these meetings has had its own brief. Moreover, ever greater expectations are being placed in the CSCE as components for new European security system are sought.

There is broad agreement that the capacity of the CSCE must be increased and its structures reinforced. A summit meeting of the 35 CSCE countries is being proposed for the end of this year. There is no established mechanism for initiating these preparations, and they must instead be agreed on separately.

On June 5 the CSCE conference on the human dimension will begin in Copenhagen. Finland considers it important that preparations for the summit be started at the latest in conjunction with this conference.

The CSCE must increase its capacity to react to new situations. At the Madrid follow-up conference in December 1980 Finland proposed establishment of a special coordinating committee of the participating states. At that point the time was not yet ripe for a proposal of this kind.

In 1985, just prior to the 10th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, we announced our decision to create a document service for the participating states. We are continuing work on these services.

There have recently been a number of proposals to create permanent CSCE structures and institutions. These have come from for example Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Soviet Union and the European Communities. We will study all of them carefully. It is our belief that they will offer valuable material for joint consideration of structures of this sort which we hope the CSCE countries can begin soon.

In considering permanent structures our basic premise has been functional needs; structures and institutions should be developed in response to the functions needed. The bureaucratization of the CSCE must be avoided. Existing international organizations must be used; here we should mention the Council of Europe. Permanent structures should be used to increase the flexibility and capacity of the CSCE for change, and not to make the process rigid.

The concensus process must also respected as one of the cornerstones of the CSCE in the future. Each participating state will have the right to determine its own interests. New structures can ease the solution of problems, but as such they can scarcely create a new political reality.

We consider it natural that the question of creating more permanent structures for the CSCE be on the agenda of the summit meeting planned for the end of next year. It could make decisions concerning the first steps, and determine guidelines for further discussion of the issue at the follow-up conference scheduled for Helsinki in 1992 and in conjunction with preparations for it.


The first step could be the decision to hold regular meetings of the foreign ministers of the participating states. Alongside these, regular meetings of civil servants and specialists might be needed. The time between this year's summit and the Helsinki follow-up conference could be a running-in period, and the question of permanent structures or institutions could be taken up again at the follow-up conference.

In considering the possibility of regular political level conferences, we should also ponder the future status of the follow-up conferences, which in their present form are of unlimited duration.

In any case, the kind of comprehensive discussion touching upon all areas and emphasizing implementation which has been a part of the follow-up conferences would also be valuable in the future.

Since the CSCE is not an organization it does not have a permanent address or secretariat. The need to increase contacts has brought up the necessity of new arrangements.

In my opinion this is an important issue. The central problem is to develop a practice which would serve the common basic objectives of the CSCE most effectively. In this way the secretariat would remain a service institution, without authority of its own. Before any permanent new structures are erected, it would be natural for the host countries to take responsibility for making the arrangements in rotation.

For this reason Finland and Helsinki are naturally ready and willing to assist in preparations for the next follow-up conference in 1992.

As the host to the Helsinki follow-up conference, we will attempt to do everything possible to assure the success of the meeting. It will be up to the summit this year to decide how integral a part of subsequent follow-up conference preparations for the Helsinki meeting will be.

As we have repeatedly stressed in various connections, the CSCE offers the best blueprint for the solution of the basic questions concerning the future of our Continent. We are proud that the spirit of Helsinki has been revitalized. Central Europe has been a major source of this new strength. We consider the view presented at the general assembly of the Council of Europe by President Vaclav Havel an important contribution to the present discussion.

Here in Turku on March 30 I stated that the "new European security system will rest in the main on a system binding the states responsible for the security of the continent together". It is my view that Havel means the same thing when he says that the basis for the Helsinki security arrangements would offer all countries of Europe the certainty that they need no longer fear each other, for they are part of the same guarantee system."

For our part we do, however, emphasize that the process must be a gradual one, and cannot rest on elements of past conflicts.

A security system binding the entire continent together will have to be supplemented by regional co-operative structures. As a comprehensive approach to security grows stronger regionalism will take on new significance. During the current year the Government of Finland has on many occasions stressed the growing importance of our own region in this respect. We sincerely hope that the differences of opinion between the Baltic republics and Moscow can be quickly channelled into co-operation and mutual respect.

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While the use of force to resolve disputes between states is on the decline, at least within the CSCE, another kind of uncontrolled violence is on the rise among nationalities.

Even in prosperous Western Europe, economic and social development has not meant the evolution of societies free from violence. On the contrary, security on the streets and at home is even decreasing. Increasing insecurity within an open Europe is a problem which must be confronted, and which must be resolved as part of efforts to guarantee general European security.

Security cannot be based on armaments alone. A broader view of responsibility for security must be devised. In societies where equality prevails this means joint responsibility. Marginalization, inequality and deprivation are the soil which breeds discrimination and violence, which weakens our common security. Some of the great tasks of the present decade are in fact to confront this challenge.

We must see that new patterns of hostility do not replace those we have rejected. This is of particular importance for young people as they form their view of the world.

Europe must be more effective in discovering that rich humanist legacy common to us all, which has been a poor second to economic and technological development. The freedom and pluralism of culture and also the sense of community it provides are important factors in our security. The future cannot be left to ideological speculators and agitators. In this respect European history is our textbook.

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