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Finn report Finn report
by Euro Reporter
2011-11-26 07:45:27
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Finland to destroy its landmines after MPs approve ban

Finland will destroy its stockpile of a million landmines by 2016 after parliament voted on Friday to ban the use of the anti-personnel devices, paving the way for the country to sign up to an international treaty to ban landmines around the world. Defence forces in the Nordic country, which has a 1,340 kilometre-long (832 mile) border with Russia, plans to replace its landmines with new surveillance systems and claymore mines, which unlike conventional devices, is directional and remote detonated.

"International treaties are important so that landmines can be given up around the world," Annika Lapintie, chairwoman of the Left Alliance parliamentary group.  "These arms do not make a distinction between civilians and soldiers."

Out of 199 parliamentarians, 110 voted in favour of the ban, while 47 voted against and 42 MPs were absent. President Tarja Halonen needs to approve the ban before Finland can sign up to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty, which aims to eliminate anti-personnel landmines around the world. According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the treaty has been ratified by 158 states but the United States, Russia and China have not joined.


Finland signs multi-year programme of work with NATO C3 Agency

On 15 November, senior Finnish officials visited the NATO C3 Agency to discuss the details of a multi-year programme of work for cooperation on advanced technology.  The agreement was signed on 12 October. This is the first multi-year programme of work signed between a country, be it NATO or Partner, and the Agency. The Agency runs about 150 bilateral projects with Nations each year, but the aim is to translate these into multi-year programmes of work.

“The Agency’s strategy is to move from annual to multi-year programmes of work, as this will facilitate resource planning and ensure that we deliver to Nations’ satisfaction,” said Georges D’hollander, NC3A General Manager. “Longer-term commitments facilitate resource and facility planning, so that we are able to respond rapidly to increasing demand from Nations for bilateral and multinational cooperation, in line with the Secretary General’s smart defence policy.”

The five-year programme of work will address C4ISR domains such as: force support, battlespace awareness, force application, logistics, command and control, net-centric warfare and protection. "Cooperation with NC3A is important to Finland in many ways,” said Brigadier General Harri Ohra-aho, ACOS C4 FDF. “The multi-year programme helps the Finnish Defence Forces to make cost-effective solutions for the future. Interoperability will be achieved with more coherent manner and with fewer resources when we are able to approach it in a systematic way. Working together with NC3A specialists helps us better to understand multinational approach and standards in the development of our C4 systems. The FDF is very pleased to be the first country to sign multi-year programme of work with the Agency."


Finland to benefit from Russia's WTO accession

Finnish companies will benefit from Russia being accepted as a member of the World Trade Organization though removing trade barriers and will make it a more reliable trading partner, Finland's Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade, Alexander Stubb, said Friday.

Russia is Finland's third-largest export market after Sweden and Germany, and the Nordic country exports large quantities of paper, cardboard, medical and pharmaceutical products, iron, steel and industrial machinery there.

Trade ministers will officially approve Russian's accession at a WTO conference in Geneva next month, with it becoming a full member next summer. Negotiations on Russia's WTO membership have been underway for 18 years.

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