Monday

15th Apr 2024

Finnish PM: Russia preparing for 'long conflict with West'

  • Russia is not 'invincible' but 'self-satisfaction is no longer an option,' Finnish prime minister Petteri Orpo said, referring to the need for Europe to step up its defence capabilities (Photo: European Parliament)
Listen to article

Finland, with a border of over 1,300 kilometres with Russia, has cautioned about the potential danger of a Russian attack in the upcoming years — echoing earlier concerns from high-ranking politicians.

"Russia is evidently preparing for a long conflict with the West, and represents a permanent and existential military threat to Europe," Finnish prime minister Petteri Orpo said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday (13 March).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Imagine what will happen next if Russia succeeds [in Ukraine]," he also said, pointing out that Russian military capabilities are limited and that every euro in support of Ukraine is "a low price compared to the alternative costs if Russia wins".  

In February, EU co-legislators finally gave the green light to the EU's €50bn four-year economic aid package for Ukraine.

But Helsinki has also encouraged EU member states to step up efforts to deliver on the 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition and to agree on additional funding for the European Peace Facility (EPF), an off-budget tool used to reimburse bilateral donations to Ukraine.

The EPF includes the new Ukraine Assistance Fund, with an injection of €5bn extra of military aid.

Following months of discussions about the reform of the EPF, in which differences between France and Germany have dominated talks, a deal was reached by EU ambassadors on Wednesday evening.

Since the beginning of the war, the EU mobilised some €6.1bn under the EPF, according to the European Commission.

Russia is not "invincible" but "self-satisfaction is no longer an option," said Orpo, referring to the need for Europe to step up its defence capabilities and border security.

"We can overcome this challenge if we pool our resources together. We have the financial means, now we need to demonstrate our political commitment", he also said.

With the EU having agreed last December to open accession talks with Ukraine, the Finish prime ministers also said it was crucial for Europe to "offer a credible European path forward for Ukraine".

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said this week that Kyiv has "completed everything" to ensure further progress in its membership bid to the EU.

Zelensky also said the draft negotiating framework, setting the guidelines for the accession negotiations, was finalised on Tuesday.

In February, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who is now seeking a new term, said that they would submit the negotiating framework in mid-March.

"The decision now rests with EU member states. We continue to prepare for the accession negotiations," said Zelensky earlier this week on X, formerly Twitter.

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader expressed gratitude to partners for their commitment to the so-called "security agreements".

"Each security agreement signed by Ukraine and its partners strengthens and reassures our shared goal of upholding international law and protecting every life," he said.

Ukraine has signed security agreements with the UK, Germany and France as well as Denmark, Italy, and Canada — including military assistance.

This article has been updated to indicate that there has been an agreement on the reform of the European Peace Facility

Opinion

Ukraine's accession is affordable — but corruption is the worry

We estimate the total direct cost of Ukraine to current member states via the regular EU budget at €19bn per year. But Ukraine's feeble democratic institutions have been weakened by the war, writes Zsolt Darvas of the Bruegel think-tank.

UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

EU and UK negotiators said that a new post-Brexit settlement for Gibraltar was just weeks away from completion following four-way talks in Brussels on Friday (12 April).

Opinion

Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. EU special summit, MEPs prep work, social agenda This WEEK
  2. EU leaders condemn Iran, urge Israeli restraint
  3. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  4. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  5. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  6. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  7. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  8. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us