On top of NATO membership, Finland is also negotiating a defense agreement with US

Finland's President Sauli Niinistö, right, shakes hands with U.S. President Joe Biden in Helsinki, Finland, Thursday, July 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

The terms of U.S. troops on Finnish soil are now being defined through the bilateral Finnish-American DCA (Defense Cooperation Agreement), and in some respects, this agreement may be even more important for the Finns than NATO membership.

The agreement specifies the rules for the stay of units, storage of equipment and investments in infrastructure, all of which was being negotiated in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine even before Finland decided to join NATO. Formally, at the official level, negotiations began last fall and will allow American forces to have access to a Finnish airport and harbor.

“The U.S. Army, participating in exercises, is present on Finnish territory almost every week. This has been the case since spring 2020, and without an agreement, it is more administratively challenging,” admitted the commander of the Finnish armed forces, Gen. Timo Kivinen. In his opinion, bilateral agreements, including with the largest NATO army, are essential because if help is needed, it can come faster directly from American soldiers than within the NATO process.

The DCA agreement may be even more significant for Finland and all of Scandinavia than NATO membership, wrote the newspaper “Iltalehti.” The paper pointed to the creation, with the help of the U.S., of a kind of democracy fortress in Northern Europe, a barrier against Russian imperialism.

The DCA agreement is also currently being negotiated in Denmark and Sweden, while Norway has already concluded such an agreement.

Negotiations regarding the Finnish-American DCA agreement are expected to be concluded at the beginning of next year. The document will then be submitted for approval by the national parliament.

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