Finland interested in NATO crisis management exercises
Finland has expressed an interest in participating in exercises for NATO's rapid reaction crisis management forces, the so-called Response Force (NRF). The subject was discussed on Thursday at a meeting of the President and the government's Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy.
Within the EU, it has been determined that the Union should adhere to NATO standards in the development of its own crisis management capabilities.
Rather than organising its own military crisis management exercises, in the years immediately ahead the EU will take part in those of NATO and other international and national bodies, so from the perspective of developing Finland's own crisis management capacity it is important that the country is also a party to these events.
The participation of the Finnish Defence Forces in international military exercises is something that is discussed and ratified on an annual basis. The objective is to ensure that Finland will be able to take a role in demanding multinational crisis management operations in the future.
NATO has resolved to open up access to most of its exercise programme to any willing and able partnership countries.
This month, Finland will be taking part in Germany in a joint exercise involving the EU's rapid deployment forces. This will be the first time when Finland's contingent trains in the battle group formed with Germany and The Netherlands.
The Finns are also present in a separate group comprising soldiers from Finland, Sweden and Norway, which is not an EU member.
These battle groups, comprising around 1,500 soldiers each, are distinct from the European Rapid Reaction Force, which consists of up to 60,000 soldiers in all, deployable for at least a year, and taking a month or more to put into the field. The idea of the battle groups is that they can be deployed in short order in international crises, possibly preparing the ground for a larger force to replace them later.
EU Factsheet on Battlegroups (.pdf file)
NATO Response Force (Wikipedia)
European Union Battlegroups (Wikipedia)