The director of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Raimo Väyrynen, believes that Finland will have to reconsider the possibility of participation in the rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF).
The government and the President decided a week ago Friday that Finland would join the operations of the NRF forces, but would exclude itself from the rotation.
"I believe that taking part in the rotation will come up at some point. I do not believe that this is a permanent decision", Väyrynen said at a luncheon for political journalists.
Väyrynen said that participation in the NRF rotation would support "or at least would not be in conflict with" the role adopted by Finland in the EU. Finland already participates in the operations of EU battle groups, where NATO standards and methods are implemented.
Of the government parties, the National Coalition Party and the Centre have indicated willingness to bring Finland into the NRF rotation system. A compromise was drawn up at the insistence of the Greens and President Tarja Halonen.
Väyrynen said that the NRF decision was what he had expected. Finland's relative position in NATO remained unchanged, and the decision did not constitute a "great leap" toward NATO membership.
Väyrynen does not believe that Finland will become a full member of NATO "in the foreseeable future".
NATO maintains forces of about 8,000 soldiers in its rotation. The turns at rotation take six months at a time. Members of the NATO-led Partnership for Peace such as Finland can have only a supplementary role in NRF. Finnish participation in any NRF operation requires a separate decision in both Finland and NATO.