Sunday

21st Oct 2018

Arms deal tests Finland-Slovenia relations

Tensions between two EU countries, Finland and Slovenia grew to new heights on Thursday (4 September), with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa delivering an official note of complaint to the Finnish ambassador in Ljublajana over Finnish TV accusations of bribes in relation to a weapons deal.

On Monday (1 September) the investigative journalism programme MOT claimed Finnish defence material manufacturer Patria paid a total of €21 million in bribes indirectly to Slovenian officials and to the prime minister in return for arms orders.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The news was broadcast on Finland's national public service broadcaster, YLE.

Mr Jansa refuted the claims as being unfounded, saying that MOT could effect the friendly relations between the two countries.

"We have officially demanded that the television channel that broadcasted this apologise and present evidence for the claims," the Slovenian prime minister said in a message published on the government's website.

Mr Jansa added the decision to purchase weapons form the Finnish company Patria was taken during the previous government's term of office.

"This is a complete lie and fabrication, and it is no coincidence that these claims have been brought forth now," he said.

The news has popped up at an unfortunate moment for the Slovenian prime minister, a few weeks ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled in Slovenia for 21 September.

The deal with the Slovenian armed forces was signed in December 2006 and included 135 armoured personnel carriers and 120 mm mortars worth some €280 million, according to the largest Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat.

The Slovenian prime minister has been in contact with his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen over the issue. But the Finnish government says it is not able to intervene in a YLE television programme.

The chief executive of Patria, Jorma Wiitakorpi, announced last month he would step down over ongoing police investigations into Patria deals in Egypt and Slovenia. Mr Wiitakorpi has denied any wrongdoing.

The State of Finland owns 73 percent of the Patria defence material manufacturer.

News in Brief

  1. Germany leads EU criticism of Saudi Arabia
  2. Huge pro-EU march takes place in London
  3. Macedonia MPs back name deal in initial vote
  4. EU to open trade talks with US on beef
  5. EU court orders Poland to suspend firing judges
  6. Japan to focus on circular economy at G20
  7. Italian budget 'significant deviation' from rules, says EU
  8. Podemos initiates debate on legalising marijuana in Spain

Russian activist warns on 'fake news' as EU backs action

In 2015, internet activist Lyudmila Savchuk went under cover to expose a troll factory in St Petersburg. As the EU summit endorses anti-disinformation action, she told EUobserver the Russian government is bankrolling many more.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  2. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  3. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  4. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  5. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud
  6. Polish left a glimmer of hope in fight against illiberal democracy
  7. Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times
  8. Asylum reforms derailed, as EU looks to north Africa

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us