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Minister of National Defence will conduct work visit in Finland


August 25-26, Minister Rasa Juknevičienė will conduct a work visit in Finland where she will meet with Finland's Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies, Chief of Defence Lt Gen Ari Puheloinen and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kari Rimpi.


In bilateral format leading defence officials will address international security situation, crisis management operations, EU security and defence policy, defence affairs in the context of financial crisis, and Nordic-Baltic cooperation.


Minister Rasa Juknevičienė will be briefed on Finland's concept of comprehensive approach to defence encompassing close cooperation between defence and private sectors including voluntary initiatives of citizens. Joint responsibility, concentration and cooperation are joined to the end of ensured Finland's sovereignty, welfare of citizens and security from external as well as other threats. The Minister will also tour units of the Finnish Defence Forces, familiarize with recruit and reserve training systems.


Before leaving Defence Minister Rasa Juknevičienė said that there was much that Lithuania could learn from Finland. „Although not a NATO member and not bound by any direct financial commitments to international community, Finland gives a lot of attention to defence. Finland's people estimate ability of their country to ensure security at state level very seriously. It is a country from which experience should be learned regarding preparation of citizens for national defence."


In the latter several years Finland continually increased defence spending, Parliament of Finland adopted a constitutive decision to augment defence budget to 1,5-2 pc. In March of 2010 Government of Finland confirmed defence financing planning for 2010-2013 which establishes the total of 10,6 EUR for defence needs. Finnish Government also approved additional sum of money for procurement of new armaments and development of new technologies in 2010-2013.


Lithuania and Finland has been developing defence cooperation for over a decade. Finland has consigned munitions to Lithuania on a non-reimbursable basis, Finnish troops have several times participated in the international exercise „Amber Hope" hosted by Lithuania, Lithuania has delegated its servicemen to military training events in Finland. In December 2005 Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence have signed a 20m EUR worth contract with Finnish company Oy Sisu Auto AB on procurement of advanced high mobility 8x8 aws/awd multipurpose supply armored SISU E11T trucks.


Cooperation with the Finnish Ministry of Defence is mainly developed in the framework of joint Baltic projects BALTDEFCOL and BALTRON as well as in regional-level projects such as SUCBAS (Sea Surveillance Co-operation Baltic Sea) tailored to integrate sea surveillance systems of the entire Baltic region.


In the first half of 2011 Lithuania will perform standby in a EU Battle Group together with Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria.

Picture by Alredas Pliadis (MoND).

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