Updated: 30-Oct-2006 NATO Speeches


8 June 2005

Opening remarks

by Dr. Seppo Kaariainen, Minister of Defence of Finland
at the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council
at the level of Defence Ministers

8 June 2006 - NATO HQ
Defence Ministers Meetings

Dear colleagues,

Finland has always regarded the Partnership for Peace (PfP) as a very useful programme. One of Our main objectives in the Programme is to develop and enhance interoperability between NATO and Partner forces through a variety of PfP means and mechanisms.

Finland aims at strengthening her crisis management capabilities through active participation in the Planning and Review Process (PARP) and through the tools developed in the Operational Capabilities Concept (OCC). Finland has used these instruments successfully in her contributions to NATO-led PfP operations, which is the core interest in Our Partnership with NATO.

The PARP programme is very functional and in its present state largely rneets the demands and expectations set for it. It is essential that PARP will continue to be closely harmonized with the NATO Force Planning process.

When looking at the developrnent of military crisis management capabilities, it is important that Partner countries have the possibility to improve also this dimension in a practical way in order to reach cornmon technological and capability-related standards. Developing the OCC concept into a two-level Evaluation and Feedback Programme offers an excellent possibility for developing military capability on a practical level.

For Finland, another important area of CO-operation is the development of rapid response capabilities by using the PARP and OCC processes. In this regard, it would be helpful to have access to relevant NATO Force Standards and supporting documents related to the NATO response Force (NRF). The on-going efforts to develop rapid response capabilities underline also the need to have an access to relevant NATO exercises.

Finland is following with great interest the on-going discussion in NATO on reforming the Partnerships of the Alliance. An active dialogue between the Partners and NATO nations would be beneficial, while the Alliance is preparing for the Riga Summit. From the Finnish point of view, the enhancement of information exchange between NATO and troop contributing Partners, as well as the possibility of troop contributing Partners to be engaged earlier than is the case today in the force generation and operational planning process, are the most important issues in the reform. We would warmly welcome the involvernent of all troop contributing Partners in the consultations already in the preparatory stages of a NATO-led crisis management operations.

In less than one month Finland will take over the Presidency of the European Union. We believe that a well working institutional relationship between the EU and NATO, as well as improving the transatlantic cooperation, benefits al1 member states of both organisations. Finland will on her part do her best to promote cooperation on a practical level and support informal meetings between EU and NATO, within a commonly agreed framework. We should all together aim at creating a mutually reinforcing and fruitful co-operative relationship between the two organisations.

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