The Finnish Neutrality — Its New Forms and Future

  • Teija Tiilikainen


Neutrality constituted the core of Finnish foreign and security policy during the Cold War era. Finland then belonged to those small European states which had to balance between the two superpowers and their allies. The Finnish policy of neutrality leaned on firm domestic support implying that no alternative policy lines were seriously proposed.


Security Policy Crisis Management European Economic Community Popular Opinion European Unification 
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  1. 1.
    This was possible due to the constitutional position of the Finnish President as the supreme leader of Finnish foreign policy. President Kekkonen took full advantage of these powers and became almost an authoritarian leader of this field during the 1960s and 1970s.Google Scholar
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    The Finnish treaty, however, differed from the corresponding ones the Soviet Union had concluded with Central and East European states. In the Finnish case, military cooperation with the Soviet was limited to one particular case (Germany or one of its allies attacking the Soviet Union through Finland). Cooperation would also be based upon mutual agreement between the two parties.Google Scholar
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    In a report given to the Finnish Parliament by the Council of State (The European Security Development and Finnish Defence, Helsinki (17 March 1997)), it is stated, for instance, that “Membership in the European Union has added clarity to and strengthened Finland’s international position. Although membership does not entail security guarantees, it does include the protection that is founded on common solidarity. Finland supports strengthening of the EU’s effectiveness in foreign and security policy and is participating constructively in the development of the Union’s security and defence dimension” (p. 6). Later on it is stated that “Membership in the European Union strengthens Finland’s security position and raises the threshold against pressure being directed at her” (p. 52).Google Scholar
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    According to an opinion poll conducted by the Center for Finnish Business and Policy Studies (Suomalaisten EU-kannanotot, Syksy 1995), 30% of Finns expected that membership in the EU would have a positive impact upon Finnish security. In addition to economic factors, security policy was one of the most important single element working in favor of Finnish membership.Google Scholar
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    President Kekkonen called this in his speech at the 1977 opening of Parliament: “As far as suspicions have been expressed about Finnish foreign policy, it is necessary, not to confirm them before Parliament and from this high position, but to state that Finland continues firmly its line of foreign policy that has been the official foreign policy of Finland after the country got over the resistance, ignorance and fumbling that was typical of the years after the war. All Finns with a sense of responsibility give their support to it nowadays. (...)” (Ulkopoliittisia Lausuntoja Ja Asiakirjoja (speeches and Documents in foreign policy), Helsinki (1977:I), pp. 14ff.).Google Scholar
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    On the issue of EU enlargement, Finland supported the Commission’s proposal regarding the strategy of enlargement, while Sweden (and Denmark) were in favor of the counterproposal.Google Scholar
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    The Young Finns is a new party established in the 1990’s among groups criticizing the major right-wing party, The National Coalition Party. Its support in elections has been less than 5%, and it has two representatives in Parliament (1995–1999).Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

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  • Teija Tiilikainen

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