Comparison of Finnish Defence and Foreign Policy Approaches – Discourses on Security Policy Stances and the Demilitarisation of the Åland Islands



Saila Heinikoski

This article analyses foreign and defence policy arguments in the Finnish parliamentary discourses after Finland’s EU accession (2004–2017) related to the concepts of  military non-alliance, non-membership  of a military alliance, as well as demilitarisation and neutralisation of the Åland Islands. It examines  how foreign policy and defence policy perspectives differ in the parliamentary debates and committee reports on the concepts. Finnish security policy has seen a gradual shift since the 1990s from neutrality policy through military non-alliance to the current non-membership of a military alliance. In contrast,   the acknowledgement of the demilitarised and neutralised status of the Åland Islands appears to remain extensive despite some critical comments from defence policy actors. The foreign policy approach emphasises a positive instrumental approach and acknowledgement of the concepts, whilst the defence policy approach views the concepts with either acknowledgment or as negative instruments allegedly hampering defence preparation.

About the Author

Dr Saila Heinikoski works as a Senior Research Fellow in the European Union Research Programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The original version of the article was drafted when Heinikoski was working in the project “Demilitarisation in an increasingly militarised world”, funded by the Kone Foundation. In addition to numerous peer-reviewed articles on different aspects of European integration, Heinikoski has co-authored, with Sia Spilopoulou Åkermark and Pirjo Kleemola-Juntunen, the book Demilitarization and International Law in Context (Routledge, 2018).



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