Mr. Assistant Secretary General, colleagues.
I am very pleased to join you at this meeting as the new Minister of Defence of Finland.
We are experiencing worrying times. As Russia wages brutal war in Ukraine, it is paramount that we continue our efforts to strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence.
NATO needs to have the ability to initiate collective defence tasks, execute operational plans and have the readiness and capabilities to reinforce all Allies. I believe we are on the right track.
Robust defence requires proper resourcing. Finland supports the renewed Defence Investment Pledge, as well as strengthening the use of common funding for Deterrence and Defence.
Finland joining NATO is a great historical moment. We are also very pleased of yesterday’s step forward towards the ratification of Sweden’s membership.
Successful integration of Finland into NATO’s military structure and planning is important from the beginning. Finland brings significant military capabilities to the Alliance, but also a large arctic land mass. We take very seriously the responsibility to guard and defend our long border with Russia.
Finland is committed to defend every inch of NATO’s area and participate in Alliance activities. As an early sign of our commitment to NATO’s peacetime collective defence tasks, Finnish fighter planes are securing the airspace above us during the summit. We will make decisions on further engagements in due course.
The war in Ukraine has shown the integral role defence industry plays in NATO’s defence and deterrence. We are taking actions nationally, regionally and within the EU and NATO, to rectify the situation created by the low level of investments during the past decades. It is important for NATO to ensure cooperation and coordination with other international actors, especially with the EU, to guarantee a coherent response towards transatlantic defence industry. The security situation requires us to even more effectively harness our industrial resources in support of Ukraine and our preparedness.
Finland brings to NATO a lot of expertise on dual-use technologies and innovation potential for future armament, such quantum and 6G communication technologies. During this summer, Finland will deliver our contribution to DIANA: an innovation accelerator and test centers focusing on these cutting-edge domains.
NATO is transforming its deterrence and defence to become stronger than ever. This is exactly the type of Alliance the Finnish public wanted to join.