How is Finland’s defense budget changing? Are you seeing more investment? Are things very constrained?
You mentioned NATO. Is Finland considering joining?
It is not an imminent decision-making point because the latest polls show that only about 22 percent of Finns support NATO membership. And one of the big hurdles or points for NATO members is that there has to be a kind of national support for that. Because in the polls there is not such a big support for NATO membership, so not a lot of politicians are going forward with that. So it is not happening in the imminent future…
As Finland increases its procurement budgets, is it also increasing the size of its armed forces?
We had a wartime strength of 230,000, which is, by European size, it is really big. So our reserve is really big. In the same defense report from June, then there was a decision that we would grow it by 50,000, so, yes, our numbers and the number of our wartime structure is growing in the very near future from 230,000 to 280,000…
Russia has been public about its desire to see Finland align itself with it and not with NATO or Western Europe. Do you see partnership with Russia as feasible in this environment?
I would say that no European nations are partnering with Russia. We have been keeping up a dialogue, a high-level political dialogue with Russia. And we just told a couple of weeks [ago] that we have activated a hotline to Russia. So we now have a hotline that is there in place just in case if something happens, we have a hotline where we can pick up the phone and we can ask them: “OK, what’s happening?” This is a very recent thing, only a couple weeks ago. Läs interview