FINNISH SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY 2001
The Government report "The European Security Development and Finnish Defence", submitted to Parliament in 1997, outlined developments in the European security environment and their impact on Finland. It went on to define the principles for developing Finland's defence up to 2008 on the basis of an assessment of the international situation and as part of Finland's overall security policy. The report proposed that the structural changes in Finland's defence system should be reviewed at intervals, the first review planned for 2001, and that a comprehensive report on the long-term plans for Finland's defence system should be made no later than 2005.
The Parliamentary Defence and Finance Committees submitted their comments on the report to the Foreign Affairs Committee. Parliament subsequently approved the Foreign Affairs Committee's report, augmented with supplementary statements on Defence Forces' personnel and garrisons having lost conscript training.
An important change in the preparation of security and defence policy occurred when the Defence Council was abolished on March 1, 2000. The Council's duties were reallocated to the Government Committee on Foreign and Security Policy and the Ministry of Defence. The former was made responsible for important matters concerning total national defence and coordination of these matters, while the Ministry of Defence was given the new responsibility of coordinating the actions of different branches of government in matters of total national defence. A new Security and Defence Committee was set up at the same time, with the task of assisting the Ministry of Defence and the Government Committee on Foreign and Security Policy in these matters. The new committee was also given the task of coordinating the preparation of the 2001 report.
The long-term development of Finland's security policy and defence recommended in the 1997 report require that preparation of the following comprehensive report be brought forward to 2004. The report will also assess the defence system as a whole in the light of developments in the security environment and society in general.