Suomen ulkopolitiikan asiakirja-arkisto ja kronologia
Lisää kirjanmerkki

Speech by Foreign Minister Paavo Väyrynen at the Stockholm Försvarshögskolan on 12 March 1992

unofficial translation


I am delivering this speech at an interesting juncture. The international environment around the Nordic countries has changed dramatically. The world order that was governed by the two super powers has now passed into history. The division of Europe into two opposed military
alliances has ended. National borders in our continent have been changed peacefully. Moreover, profound changes in Europe have not at all ended, but the period of transition is continuing.

The significance of the changes that have taken place or that are underway shows that we now speak about "a new Europe" in the words of the Charter of Paris. In Finland, the transition from the old Europe to the new one has been very positively received. What is most important, the threat of a major war has receded. The division of Europe and the confrontation have developed into cooperation with a common set of values. The arms race has evolved into a period of security that is based on disarmament and cooperation. These changes have a
favourable effect on our immediate neighbourhood. Our relations with Russia follow the principles of the new Europe. The Baltic countries have become independent. Among the Baltic Sea countries, ground has been developed for fruitful cooperation between all the states

Even if our attitude towards the developments of the last few years is rather positive, we have not closed our eyes from the indisputable problems that we shall face in the new Europe. We consider that there are two connected factors, in particular, that are threatening the
stability, security and prosperity of our continent; first, the economic and social gap between the eastern and western parts of our continent and second, conflicts between different nationalities in Eastern Europe.

A new kind of security policy is a necessity in the new Europe. Now we are indeed jointly responsible for the security of our continent: we should be able to prevent and control conflicts arising within our continent. Cooperation on security matters should extend to all the
areas of life. Promotion of economic welfare in Eastern Europe is particularly important.

In the cold war era, each Nordic country was able to take care of her own security in a manner that took into consideration the interests of the other Nordic countries and was simultaneously in harmony with the interests of the international community. I believe that we can do the
same even in the new Europe. Our point of departure must be a sustainable assessment of what is left of the old, on the one hand, and of what in the new is most essential.

The Nordic countries still share the same common basic interests: we should be able to promote peaceful and stable development especially in our own adjacent areas in the North of Europe and in the Baltic Sea area. In the new Europe we have both the need and the opportunities
to expand our cooperation in the field of security policy and related areas.


Finland's objective is to ensure real and lasting security. Our point of departure is based on our geographical position and on the historical experiences of our people. We intend to secure our national interests in the changing world in a manner which is in harmony with the interests of other nations and the whole international community.

Finland's aim is to remain neutral in any potential wars or conflicts in our adjacent areas in future - that is, she would remain outside them. The core of our policy of neutrality can be characterized as military non-alliance and independent defence. An important part of the security policy is the maintenance of efficient national defence forces that are credible in our security environment.

During the cold war era, the stable condition in the North of Europe was based on the fact that close to the areas that were strategically important for the Soviet Union there were two neutral countries - Sweden and Finland - and furthermore, Norway and Denmark had adopted, in their NATO cooperation, unilateral restrictions under which they did not, in a time of peace, accept foreign bases and nuclear weapons in their territories.

In the new Europe, the Soviet Union is substituted by Russia, which is orienting towards democracy and market economy but where, however, development will be long characterized by insecurity. At least in the foreseeable future, it is reasonable from everybody's point of view that the established security policy constellation in the Nordic region does not change. While saying this I, naturally, take into account the possiblility that the geopolitical situation in the North of Europe may change in an essential way in the future.

This is the background against which we are preparing our application to become a member of the European Community. We are ready to participate in its common foreign and security policy as decided in Maastricht. At the same time, we shall actively contribute to the strengthening of the all-European system of security and cooperation that is based on the CSCE.

* * *

Above, I referred to the military security of the North of Europe and to the need to maintain stability in that area. In this respect, a certain amount of continuity is necessary.

At the same time, there is reason to emphasize the fact that even here, in the Nordic region, there is a new security environment with new kinds of threats and challenges. Those we shall have to face together.

Finland's position has been interesting. The revolutionary change of Europe started from the eastern Central Europe and Russia, where it is still continuing. We have closely followed the events in our neighbouring country and tried to take note of them in our own policy.


Last autumn we started negotiations on contractual arrangements with both the Soviet Union and Russia. So we became the first Western country to sign agreements with Russia. In connection with the signing of the basic agreement we could jointly establish that the 1948 Treaty between Finland and the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. On the same occasion, a trade agreement between Finland and Russia and an agreement on cooperation for the development of the Murmansk, Karelia, and St.Petersburg areas were signed.

The latter agreement, which is a frame agreement on cooperation in the adjacent areas, creates the foundation for a new dimension in our eastern relations. It is very important from the point of view of Finland - and of the entire Nordic region - to initiate a favourable development in Russia and particularly in those parts of Russia that are in our vicinity.

The border between Russia and the Nordic region is unique compared to the other borders of the former Soviet Union: it is only here that Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States border on developed market economy countries - Norway and Finland. This uniqueness implies that here the standard-of- living gap is wider than anywhere else on the borders of the former Soviet Union. On the other hand, also special opportunities for cooperation are opening up here: in the joint ventures to be carried out in those parts of Russia that border on the Nordic region the infrastructure that Norway and Finland already have could be utilized. These areas could function as a kind of laboratory for reforms and development, the experience of which could be put to use in other parts of Russia. This is an area which, from the Russian point of view, might more easily attract foreign investments.

This is, in my opinion, an important target for Nordic cooperation. The assistance we offer Eastern Europe should focus, above all, on the areas in our vicinity: the Murmansk, Karelia, and St.Petersburg areas, the Baltic countries, and even Poland. We should act so as to make the other Western countries participate fully in this effort. The establishment of the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the future membership of the EC of several of the Nordic countries may improve our chances in this respect.

A favourable economic and social development in the vicinity of the Nordic region will be conducive to bringing us stability, security and well-being. This we should promote in every way.


The breakdown of the bipolar political and military constellation will cause an upheaval in the security environment of the Nordic region also in the military sense. Although the basic geopolitical situation in Northern Europe has remained mostly unchanged, the threat perceptions relating to this situation have changed.

From the military point of view, we still have to deal with a huge armed force deployed behind our eastern border. It forms part of the abundant equipment that will remain in the hands of Russia as a heritage of the cold war and which will be subject to the restrictions and provisions on openness of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

However, there seems to be no promise of quick reductions in the armed forces in the northwestern parts of Russia bordering on the Nordic region, the Kola or St.Petersburg areas. It is also probable that the withdrawal of the troops of the armed forces of the former Soviet Union from the area of the Baltic countries does not take place very quickly.

The solution to this issue should be looked at primarily from the point of view of a far-reaching and long-term change in the military structure. Therefore, we consider very important the "aftercare" of the cold war, the pragmatic and novel security and defence policy cooperation that the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), on the initiative of NATO, has set out to

According to the programme presented by NATO, the practical work of the Cooperation Council will focus on supporting the implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, on reforming armed forces in accordance with the principles of defensive doctrine and democratic control, as well as on the conversion of the defence industry and on issues of research and environmental protection.

This new kind of security cooperation can also be pursued bilaterally or as tripartite cooperation or within the framework of the CSCE.

Now that the Central European former Warsaw Pact countries and the Baltic countries are reconstructing their armed forces, we can ask, whether such countries as Finland and Sweden could provide them with expert knowledge and experience in constructing cost-conscious and defensive armed forces.

The Nordic countries could jointly contribute to the structural change by supporting the conversion of the armaments industries in the St.Petersburg area. Success there would have extensive repercussions on the capability of Russia to steer the society and the economy that had become militarized during the cold war era on the path of democracy and market economy.

In Finland we have already gained some experience in conversion cooperation. Both in Finland and in the other Nordic countries much more could and should be done in this area. All we know indicates that conversion is of crucial significance, but at the same time it points out the dimensions and problems of the task. This is the vast field of activity for cooperation in the adjacent areas, to which all the Western European countries should harness their resources.

In the new situation, even nuclear disarmament is seen primarily as a way of cooperating in the process of dismantling the structures of the cold war. The question is, in the first place, how to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and how to control technology.

The transportation, storage and destruction of the nuclear weapons of the CIS is an enormous task, and its environmental effects touch also on the areas adjacent to the Nordic region, the Kola and St.Petersburg areas. It would be worthwhile for Sweden and Finland to assess together what kind of technical, economic or other contribution we could make to help in this task, even if we understandably could not participate In the actual treatment of nuclear explosives.

* * *

We are facing a historical change in the role of nuclear weapons and their deployment next to the Nordic areas. The removal of the American and Russian sea- and land- based tactical nuclear weapons, if carried out, will strengthen military stability. It will diminish pressures for, or the likelihood of, the use of the Nordic region or its air space in a time of crisis.

At the same time, as those missiles that in terms of their location and range are particularly threatening the Nordic area will be withdrawn, one of the basic objectives of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Nordic region will be fulfilled.

From the point of view of the Nordic countries it is important to make sure that an emphasis on the air- and sea-based strategic weapons will not disturb the stability of the northern regions.

The Nordic countries should benefit as extensively as possible from the reduction of the conventional armed forces as well as from the increase in military stability and openness that are underway in the new Europe. Promotion of this objective opens up opportunities for Nordic cooperation, and the division into the militarily allied and non-allied countries does not constitute a similar obstacle as before.

In the new Europe, the local and regional factors of security will be emphasized. The Nordic dialogue on security policy, that was pursued in the working group dealing with the nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Nordic region, must be continued in a concrete and result- oriented manner.

I am thinking of the promotion of regional arrangements, in particular, in the CSCE security forum to be launched after the Helsinki Summit Meeting. The regional negotiation processes could be open as far as participation is concerned and they could operate within the framework of a common forum, guided by common principles.

The increasing demands for openness create new challenges for Finland and Sweden. These countries have remained outside the militarily allied countries' negotiation fora, the results of which will now be applied also to the countries that have been outside.

The Open Skies-agreement, soon ready to be signed, is a fruitful and natural object of cooperation for Finland and Sweden. As observers we have together influenced the content of the agreement and we try to become participants as soon as possible. In future, possibilities will open up for technical cooperation in connection with monitoring flights.

Another topical issue involves the harmonization of the provisions contained in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and the Vienna document on Confidence-and Security-Building Measures, in this connection, the special features of the conscript armies of Finland and Sweden should be taken into consideration in an appropriate manner. We can benefit from each other's views while seeking a solution to this issue.


For historical and geopolitical reasons, the security policy environment of the Nordic region has been characterized by strategic factors.

The new security architecture in Europe makes the Nordic region a more integral part of Europe. This situation is not a simple one for any of the Nordic countries. They have to find new applications for their Nordic solutions through adjustment to and participation in the change in Europe.

Recently, the question has been raised whether Finland and Sweden should intensify their mutual cooperation in security policy and extend it even to cooperation in concrete defence. This is a most natural question.

There has been and all the time is defence policy cooperation between Finland and Sweden, for instance, in the procurement of defence materiel, in peacekeeping operations, and in the dialogue on security policy as well as in the negotiations on disarmament.

The most far-reaching suggestions have included common defence or a defence alliance for Finland and Sweden. Such a discussion has taken a wrong course. In the present process of change in Europe there is no reason or need to establish new commitments of military alliance.

The basic task of the defence system is to act as a deterrent. Extending the structure of military alliance in a new way to the Nordic region might, in the present constantly changing situation, create instability rather than stability.

* * *

The experiences of Finland and Sweden as well as those of the other Nordic countries are needed to strengthen the CSCE's operational capacity and to change Europe in the direction of a new security structure, where prevention of war and control of crises take place in cooperation and through common institutions.

A current task is to create peacekeeping capabilities within the CSCE.

There are many who have doubts about that. They note that the CSCE does not have the legal foundation required or any binding decision-making procedure. The CSCE is feared
to weaken the position of the UN's peacekeeping operations or to be a waste of overlapping resources.

A solution can be approached in a pragmatic manner, which is realistic and does not require a change in the basic nature of the CSCE.

Proceeding on the basis of their own model the Nordic countries could make the development of CSCE peacekeeping operations a new focal area in their cooperation. They could cooperate with other likeminded countries, such as Switzerland and Austria.

The Nordic countries maintain preparedness and training for UN peacekeeping operations and engage in mutual cooperation and exchange of experiences.

Would it not be conceivable to apply a similar practice in a coordinated manner and in cooperation among all CSCE countries? The CSCE countries could, as their joint commitment, undertake to maintain peacekeeping preparedness. Such preparedness could be made use of, through a joint decision, as the need arises.

A stable economic foundation could be created if all countries undertook to allocate a certain share of their defence expenditure for UN and CSCE peacekeeping operations, partly to maintain their own preparedness and partly to finance joint arrangements.

Of Finland's defence expenditure for last year, the share of peacekeeping operations was in the range of two per cent. For a well-functioning international system even a clearly lower contribution on an average would be adequate.

* * *

In Europe, the creation of a collective security system of a new type through strengthening the CSCE should be made a joint objective in the longer term.

Such a collective security system would be built as part of the ongoing deep change, political and economic integration, and security policy cooperation in Europe.

A regional arrangement for the maintenance of peace and security based on the CSCE is in harmony with the principles of the UN Charter. A European preparedness would be conducive to strengthening of the UN.

NATO has a central stabilizing significance for Europe. The collective security represented by the military alliance is based on the member countries' joint defence against an external threat. This basic military task of NATO will remain unchanged regardless of an extension of its political role.

The task of the CSCE is to prevent and peacefully resolve mutual conflicts of all the participating States and to control crises. Collective security of this kind requires that the participating States commit themselves to observe common principles and standards and to common procedures for their maintenance. These means should also include jointly agreed sanctions.

The operation of a European collective security system in situations of conflict could be based on a division of work. The CSCE would offer the principles and a forum for the joint decision-making. The practical activities, such as peacekeeping operations, would be based on the resources of the participating States and their cooperation organizations.

* * *

In the new European conditions, the CSCE has an important task relating to security even when it comes to promoting economic cooperation. To fill the economic and social gap between the East and West, everything in our power should be done. Primarily it is a matter of solutions promoting the transition of the new democracies, the Baltic countries and the CIS countries, to a market economy and their integration into the West European free trade area. In addition, however, considerable investments will be needed for the development of their economic and social basic structures. Here, intergovernmental, multilateral cooperation within an all-European framework is called for because this is primarily a matter of public investments to transport, communications, and energy networks crossing state boundaries. These investments are paid partly by the western industrialized countries.

At the Helsinki Follow-up Meeting, a thorough discussion should be held on the organizations of the European cooperation. Existing overlappings should be eliminated and any new ones should be prevented from arising. On the other hand, care should be taken that everything that is important is done. A suitable forum for economic cooperation could be some existing body whose sphere of activity would be extended to include the task of developing the infrastructure.

Lisää kirjanmerkki