HELSINKI – In a speech made on Tuesday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto expressed hope that cooperation between the Nordic and the Baltic countries on security issues will deepen further, Finland's STT news agency reported.
"We share the same security environment also with the Baltic states. I would like to see the well-functioning NB8 cooperation aiming increasingly at security. Cooperation between parliaments is already close, but I would encourage you to further strengthen contacts and the exchange of information and views, for example between key committees," Niinisto said in his remarks delivered before the Nordic Council.
The president of Finland said we are living in dangerous times.
"Sabotage of gas pipelines and drones flying near strategic targets are examples of hybrid attacks that we need to be prepared for today. Our exchange of information is continuous. We have intensified our cooperation in the areas of security of supply and crisis preparedness. This must continue. Our critical infrastructure crosses national borders in many sectors. We must work together to protect it. When we prepare together, our security is strongest," he said.
Niinisto said Russia is using its energy weapon in the hope that our resilience is the first to break, that Western unity would begin to crack and our support for Ukraine to falter.
"This is where it makes a miscalculation. History has shown that, both as individuals and as nations, we find strength in ourselves in difficult situations. Together and alone, we can do things we may not have even known we could do. The Ukrainians are the ultimate example of this. The challenges we face are small compared to what Ukraine faces. I firmly believe that our backbone will hold," he said.
The president said that over the course of this year, he has often been asked what the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO means for Nordic cooperation.
"I think the answer is clear: our cooperation will deepen further. We already have extensive cooperation between the Nordic countries in the field of security and defense. Our interests are often similar and our capabilities are strong and complementary. When Finland and Sweden join NATO, there will no longer be empty Nordic chairs in the NATO Council either. Together, we are strong security providers in our own region and beyond. In the future, we will strive to ensure that the whole alliance benefits from our cooperation," he said.
NB8, or Nordic-Baltic Eight, is a regional format that since 1992 has brought together the five Nordic countries and the three Baltic countries, or Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, around the same table to informally discuss current foreign and security policy issues from both a global and European perspective.