Relations with Finland

  • Last updated: 15 Jun. 2020 11:27

NATO and Finland actively cooperate in peace-support operations and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas. An important priority is to develop interoperable capabilities, maintaining the ability of the Finnish armed forces to work with those of NATO and other partner countries in multinational peace-support operations.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland



  • Finnish cooperation with NATO is based on its longstanding policy of military non-alignment and a firm national political consensus.
  • Cooperation began when Finland joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme in 1994 and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (a multilateral forum for dialogue which brings together all Allies and partner countries in the Euro-Atlantic area) in 1997.
  • An Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme (IPCP), which is jointly agreed for a two-year period, lays out the programme of cooperation between Finland and NATO.
  • Finland is one of NATO’s most active partners and a valued contributor to NATO-led operations and missions in the Balkans and Afghanistan.
  • Finland is one of six countries (known as ‘Enhanced Opportunity Partners’1 under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative) that make particularly significant contributions to NATO operations and other Alliance objectives. As such, the country has enhanced opportunities for dialogue and cooperation with the Allies.
  • In the current security context of heightened concerns about Russian military and non‑military activities, NATO is stepping up cooperation with partner countries Finland and Sweden, with a particular focus on ensuring security in the Baltic Sea region. This includes: regular political dialogue and consultations; exchanges of information on hybrid warfare; coordinating training and exercises; and developing better joint situational awareness to address common threats and develop joint actions, if needed. Both partners participate in the enhanced NATO Response Force (NRF) in a supplementary role and subject to national decisions. Additionally, both partners have signed a memorandum of understanding on Host Nation Support which, also following a national decision, allows for logistical support to Allied forces located on, or in transit through, their territory during exercises or in a crisis.
  1. Enhanced Opportunity Partners: Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden



Key areas of cooperation



Finland’s cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and includes:

Building capabilities and interoperability

  • Finland participates in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) and the Operational Capabilities Concept, two frameworks which assist the country with planning and evaluating the readiness of its contributions to NATO-led peace-support operations.
  • Finland participates in NATO and PfP exercises and has declared a variety of infantry, engineering, naval, and air units as potentially available for exercises and operations.
  • Finland regularly contributes to European Union (EU) Battlegroups, and is cooperating with other countries to develop a multinational rapid-reaction force for EU-led peace-support operations. Finland is also participating in the establishment of a multinational joint headquarters in Germany; a harbour protection system; and a deployable system for the surveillance of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents.
  • Finland participates in two strategic airlift initiatives: the Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) programme and the Strategic Airlift International Solution (SALIS).
  • In 2017, Finland created the Helsinki European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. The centre is open to participating states and supported by NATO and the EU.
  • Since 2014, under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative, Finland has participated in the Interoperability Platform, which brings Allies together with 24 selected partners that are active contributors to NATO’s operations.
  • Finland and NATO signed a Political Framework Arrangement in 2017 for cooperation on cyber defence. The country also participates in the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, NATO cyber defence exercises, and all cyber-related ‘Smart Defence’ projects.
  • In July 2001, NATO formally recognised the Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT) as a PfP Training Centre. FINCENT provides training on military crisis management for staff employed by international organisations such as NATO, the United Nations (UN) and the EU.
  • Finland has close ties with other Nordic countries and participates in Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), a regional defence initiative that promotes collaboration between Nordic armed forces.

Support for NATO-led operations and missions

  • Finland first participated in a NATO-led operation in 1996 when it contributed a battalion to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Since 2002, Finnish soldiers have been working alongside Allied forces in Afghanistan – first as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which completed its mission at the end of 2014, and currently as part of the follow-on Resolute Support Mission (RSM) to further train, assist and advise the Afghan security forces and institutions. Finland has also contributed over USD 14 million to the Afghan National Army Trust Fund.
  • Finland provides personnel to the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR).

Wider cooperation

  • Finland engages with NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning Committee and cooperates with Allies on regional assessments, security of supply, critical infrastructure protection, and in providing mutual support in dealing with the consequences of a major accident or disaster in the Euro-Atlantic area.
  • Finnish civil resources have been listed with NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) and Finland has contributed to NATO’s pool of preparedness experts. Finland has also provided civil preparedness training to Allies and other partners.
  • Under NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme, Finnish scientists have participated in numerous advanced research workshops and multi-year projects. Key areas of cooperation include cyber defence, explosives detection, identification of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents, resilience capacity-building, and security-related advanced technology. One notable SPS project that Finland participated in was the establishment of a multinational telemedicine centre enabling medical specialists to provide real-time recommendations to first responders at emergency scenes or in combat zones.
  • Finland actively supports the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS), and since 2008 has developed successive National Action Plans in support of the WPS agenda.
  • Finland is an active supporter of NATO Trust Fund projects in other partner countries and has contributed to nearly a dozen so far, including many that fall under NATO’s Defence and Related Security Capacity Building (DCB) Initiative. Currently, it is supporting the DCB Trust Fund, and projects in Georgia, Jordan, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.