Government proposes signature of defence cooperation agreement between Finland and United States

In its plenary session on 14 December 2023, the Finnish Government decided to propose that the President of the Republic authorise Minister of Defence Antti Häkkänen, or if he is prevented from doing so, Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen, to sign a Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States.

The Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) is to be signed in Washington DC on Monday 18 December. As the DCA contains provisions of a legislative nature, it is subject to acceptance by Parliament. After the signature of the DCA, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will begin preparations for a government proposal for the acceptance and approval of the agreement and for the enforcement of its provisions of a legislative nature.

The United States is one of Finland’s most important allies. In August 2022, Finland decided to open negotiations with the United States on a Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA), which is an international agreement of a binding nature. The negotiations were concluded in October 2023. The President of the Republic and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy decided in favour of approving the outcome of the negotiations on 27 November 2023. Parliament has been regularly informed of the progress of the negotiations in accordance with sections 47 and 97 of the Constitution.

“The Defence Cooperation Agreement we are about to sign will further deepen the bilateral alliance between Finland and the United States. It will strengthen Finland’s security and defence and enable cooperation in all security situations. The DCA has also regional importance, and it will help Finland contribute to NATO’s collective defence efforts,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen.

The DCA will strengthen Finland’s defence because it enables the presence and training of US forces and the prepositioning of defence material in the territory of Finland. In this way, it will also support the implementation of NATO’s deterrence and defence.

“Finland’s close defence cooperation with the United States dates back to the early 1990s, and the DCA would not be possible without this long history of cooperation. The signature of the DCA is not the end point, but a new step towards even closer cooperation between the defence administrations of Finland and the United States. The agreement reflects the United States’ commitment to Finland’s security and it creates the conditions for cooperation in times of crises. Finland is not alone in defending itself, but does so as a NATO Ally and together with the United States,” says Minister of Defence Antti Häkkänen.

The DCA deals with matters such as US access to and use of the agreed facilities and areas; prepositioning of defence equipment, supplies and materiel in the territory of Finland; entry and movement of US aircraft, vessels and vehicles; ensuring the protection, safety, and security of US forces and the facilities and areas they use; criminal jurisdiction; and diverse practical matters related to the activities of US forces in the territory of Finland. The agreed facilities and areas are listed in an Annex to the agreement. Finland will authorise the United States unimpeded access to and use of the agreed facilities and areas for activities listed in the DCA. As a rule, the cooperation between Finland and the United States will focus on the agreed facilities and areas. However, the DCA will apply to the entire territory of Finland.

The United States will commit to conducting all activities under the DCA with full respect for the sovereignty, laws and international obligations of Finland. Key provisions of the DCA contain obligations of the parties regarding consultation, respect for shared views, and coordination of measures to ensure the proper implementation of the agreement.