Updated: 10 December 1999 Speeches

EAPC Meeting
in Defense
3 Dec. 1999

Speech by

Mr. Jan-Erik Enestam Minister of
Defence of Finland

Mr. Chairman,

Let me first of all warmly congratulate you for your appointment as Secretary General of NATO.

The Kosovo operation was a major challenge to all of us. First, Kosovo demonstrated the value of solidarity and cohesion in the trans-Atlantic community. That solidarity was shown not only by the Allies but by the Partners as well. It is well worth noting that the course taken by the Alliance in response to the affront to the international community's common values, was supported by all Partner countries present at the Summit in Washington. The defence of common values had become a shared strategic interest.

Secondly, the whole operation, however successful, revealed deficiencies that must be remedied. It is essential that we improve virtually all aspects of our capabilities for military crisis management. We can further improve interoperability by the means indicated by the Operational Capabilities Concept, through the Planning and Review Process, and through Partners' participation in some of the technical-military areas outlined in the Defence Capabilities Initiative. Only by training, exercising and equipping our troops to common standards, can we improve our cooperation in view of possible future emergencies.

Thirdly, a further lesson from Kosovo is that there is a need to prepare for comprehensive crisis management covering all stages of a crisis. Thus, there is an obvious need to improve CIMIC capabilities and establish a more efficient cross-institutional cooperation.

Mr. Chairman,

The New Strategic Concept adopted at the Washington Summit elevates Crisis Management and Partnership to the level of fundamental security tasks of the Alliance on par with Security, Consultations and Deterrence and Defence. While this innovation is both important and welcome, it is also quite challenging as words must be turned into action on a broad range of issues.

Finland, for her part, will continue to work towards closer involvement in Partner activities initiated by NATO, including the future Partnership Goals. We attach great importance to the full implementation of the political-military framework, which provides the basis for Partner participation in NATO-led PfP operations. From the political-military perspective, Finland's key objective is to develop and enhance interoperability with NATO forces. We will give priority to strengthening our crisis management capabilities through the means and mechanisms developed in the context of the Operational Capabilities Concept for NATO-led PfP Operations. In this respect, we place strong emphasis also on the development of peacetime working relationships.

Finland is interested in the idea of a pool of forces and capabilities as well as in multinational formations. We need a resource data bank for the creation of suitable force packages for future crisis management operations. This should be accompanied by the introduction of robust assessment and feedback mechanisms for the Partner forces and capabilities. We also warmly welcome the possibility of establishing liaison arrangements between Partner forces and NATO headquarters, both within the command and the force structure.

Mr. Chairman,

The PfP is one of the great innovations of the decade now drawing to a close. Its evolution has been both faster and more substantive than we thought possible at the outset. The programme is now both broad and sophisticated. We must now find the will and the means to implement it in a dynamic way.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

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