The clause of the EU's Lisbon Treaty concerning the mutual aid and solidarity which is also the basis of defense relations between Finland and Estonia must be filled with more content, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said in Tallinn on Saturday.
"We have said many times in Finland that we are cooperating with NATO, Sweden and directly with the U.S. and the EU," Niinistö said at a press conference held in the framework of the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn.
"In the EU we have article 42.7 of the treaty, which says that all the members of the EU will help each other if one of them is in danger," he said, adding that this is the basis for the country's defense relationship with Estonia.
"I think that all of us Finns remember from the 90s onward on how helpful we were — individuals, the society and even the state — we all helped Estonia," Niinistö recalled. "That hasn't changed.
"When speaking about military help, it must be kept in mind that there is one big difference — Estonia is a member of NATO and at present Estonia is enjoying the protection of NATO, which is a good thing in our opinion," the Finnish head of state pointed out. "But when we think about Finland's situation, no such help can be seen for us because we are not a part of NATO. We must take that into account in all of our measures."
According to Niinistö, Finland's military support to any other country is linked to what they have been promised to receive and waht they have not been promised to receive, and for that reason he is always trying to push the European discussion forward.
"I've been asking all around Europe of NATO states, 'What do you think about the Lisbon Treaty?' No answer," the Finnish president recalled. "We have kind of a problem with that treaty — the text is great but there's not much content in it."
According to Niinistö, he is not disappointed in the agreement, but found that now is the time to fill it with content. "What kind of union is it that doesn't take care of its citizens' security?" he commented, adding that this was a fundamental issue.
Niinistö added that he is seeing improvements in fulfilling the clause on mutual aid and solidarity with content and that Finland fully supports this.
Editor: Aili Vahtla