What is the Finnish ‘report on changes in the security environment’?
The Finnish government launched the report on March 17th, as the precursor to an “extensive discussion on foreign and security policy” in the Finnish parliament.
The report has been prepared by a coordination group led by Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, and will assess the impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine across all aspects of Finland’s government.
“The report will discuss Finland’s foreign, security and defence policy, but also the economic impacts in the situation that has changed, security of supply, preparedness, border security, cyber security and hybrid influence activities,” the government said in a press release when it was announced.
Will the report recommend that Finland join the Nato security alliance?
No. The press release sent out by the Finnish foreign ministry on Tuesday says very clearly: “The report does not contain policy proposals”.
Anne Sjöholm, Marin’s EU press officer told The Local that it is also premature to expect Marin to announce that she has decided on the back of the analysis to advocate that Finland apply to join Nato.
“I think she will say her view only much later, after a few weeks, because she wants the parliament and her own party to have time for an open discussion about this,” she said.
Follow the national Nato debate with The Local’s podcast, Sweden in Focus.
So why is Sanna Marin coming to Stockholm on the day the report is published?
“It is only a coincidence that the two things are happening at the same time,” Sjöholm told The Local.
But Nina Kefi, the press secretary for Sweden’s cabinet office, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper that Marin would nonetheless give Magdalena Andersson, Sweden’s prime minister, a briefing on the conclusions of the Finnish report shortly before its publication.
“She is going to explain it to Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson,” she said.
Marin has said that she would like Sweden and Finland to move towards their decisions on Nato membership at around the same pace, even if each country should still be able to decide independently.
But even Patrik Oksanen, a Nato advocate at the Swedish security policy think tank Frivärld, sees the meeting as more a step along the way.
“S [the Social Democrats] are not going to change position on 13/4 just because Finland’s Social Democratic Prime Minister Sanna Marin comes over with the details on the Finnish position and timetable,” he wrote in a Twitter thread on Monday night.
“But even if the defenders of non-alignment in the party are trying to blow the debate back into life, everything more or less points towards Sweden following Finland.
“From the Finnish side then, it looks like they’d rather Sweden and Finland go together arm and arm, but they aren’t ready to wait too many weeks for their Swedish comrades.”
TRÅD: Finlands regering vill visst vara ledig på skärtorsdagen, därför släpps redogörelsen om säkerhetspolitiken redan på onsdag 13/4. Signifikant är att statsminister Sanna Marin åker direkt till Stockholm för överläggningar med Magdalena Andersson.
— Patrik Oksanen (@patrikoksanen) April 11, 2022
What will happen on Wednesday?
Andersson and Marin will hold a joint press conference shortly after 12pm, in which both will express their concern at the deteriorating security situation. Neither, however, is likely to say that they have themselves decided that their countries should join Nato.
Marin will say she does not want to give her opinion until Finland’s parliament has held its debate over the coming weeks. Andersson is likely to say that she wants to wait for her party to hold its own internal debate, and until she has received Sweden’s own new analysis of the security situation.