Press Release 120/2017
Finland’s readiness to provide and receive international assistance is being improved. The reform of the relevant legislation is a central objective of the Government Programme and aims to enhance Finland’s scope of action to strengthen national security.
Today, the President of the Republic confirmed an Act on Decision-making on the Provision of and Request for International Assistance and, in the same legislative package, amendments to certain Acts in the sectors of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior. The Acts enter into force on 1 July 2017.
When ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon, Finland already committed itself to implementing the European Union’s solidarity clause and mutual defence clause, which are binding on all Member States equally.
The solidarity clause applies if an EU Member State falls victim to a terrorist attack or a natural or man-made disaster. The mutual defence clause applies if a Member State falls victim to armed aggression on its territory. The clauses have a strong significance to Finland from the security policy perspective.
In addition to situations covered by the solidarity clause and the mutual defence clause of the Lisbon Treaty, the new Act on Decision-making on the Provision of and Request for International Assistance applies to decisions on assistance that involves significant military resources, may involve the use of military force, is of significance from the foreign and security policy perspective or is far-reaching and important in principle.
The Act supports Finland’s cooperation within the European Union and the deepening of defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden.
According to the Act, decisions on assistance are made by the President of the Republic or the Government plenary session in accordance with the division of competences under the Constitution. The Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament is consulted before the decision if the assistance may involve the use of military force. If a decision involving the use of military force concerns a particularly demanding situation, the Government must, before making the decision, consult Parliament by providing it a report on the matter.
The Act also provides for a procedure for urgent decisions at ministerial level and for a procedure for urgent situations requiring the use of military force.
Provisions on authorities’ duties necessary for providing and receiving assistance, and on competences, use of force and staff’s position are laid down in legislation in the sectors of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior.
Inquiries: Päivi Kaukoranta, Director General for Legal Affairs, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 295 351 144.
The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are in the format email@example.com.