Collective action and mutual trust.
These two concepts were highlighted during the Mabini Dialogue on “Finnish Foreign and Security Policy Priorities in the Changing Security Environment,” held on 24 January 2023 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library, Department of Foreign Affairs.
The Dialogue, which featured Ms. Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland as guest speaker, discussed Finland’s perspective on the changing global and regional security environment, as well as the implications of these changes on Finland’s foreign and security policy priorities.
Ms. Sumuvuori stressed the importance of maintaining a stronger relationship between Finland and the Philippines (as signified by the reopening of the Finnish Embassy in Manila in 2020), and underlined that the two countries share common values, foremost of which is their commitment to a rules-based international order.
From the Finnish perspective, the global security order has changed drastically due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s actions against Ukraine is a threat to a rules-based international order, a violation of international law. For the Finnish people, the conflict also threatens their way of life, and the social security that they have built over decades. These circumstances have ignited an awakening and a strong sense of willingness among them to defend what is right.
There has been a significant increase in parliamentary and public support for Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as a response to the security situation in the region. By joining NATO, Finland seeks to enhance and strengthen national and European security, as well as contribute to the defense mechanisms utilized in the region. Finland believes that this will also enhance cooperation and participation in achieving the organization’s goals in the region.
Ms. Sumuvuori proclaimed Finland’s continued support for Ukraine. As a member of the European Union (EU), Finland has participated in the provision of aid packages to Ukraine, as well as the imposition of sanctions against Russia. The aid packages are intended to address issues on rising inflation and food security, and also include military training and aid for Ukrainian forces.
Ms. Sumuvuori reiterated that these security challenges are not only felt by Finland and the EU. The ongoing conflict is a global concern that should be addressed through cooperation and collective action. The strong partnerships that the Philippines and Finland have all over the world should be utilized in promoting multilateral solutions to these global challenges.
The dialogue was attended by officers and staff of the DFA, foreign service posts, the diplomatic corps, other government agencies, media, and the academe.