Proposal on Finland-USA defence co-op deal submitted to Parliament

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Proposal on Finland-USA defence co-op deal submitted to Parliament

Finnish government on Thursday submitted a proposal to Parliament on the acceptance and bringing into force of the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Finland and the United States, said the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a press release.

The proposal consists of the act bringing into force the agreement and ten related acts.

According to the proposal, the acceptance of the agreement will require a two-thirds majority decision of Parliament.

The DCA provides an up-to-date framework for defence cooperation with the United States.

The United States is a key strategic ally for Finland, and close and seamless cooperation between the two countries has become increasingly important due to changes in the security environment.

The DCA governs the possibility of U.S. military presence in Finland in all security situations and promotes regional cooperation.

The DCA will improve the conditions for the United States to support Finland and strengthen Finland’s security as a member of NATO.

The Appendix to the DCA lists the facilities and areas where the two countries would focus their cooperation and collaboration. Going forward, the DCA will enable the United States to make use of Congress funding for possible infrastructure investments in Finland.

The DCA provides for the entry into and movement within the territory of Finland for U.S. forces and for the use of the agreed facilities and areas listed in the Annex to the DCA.

They are facilities and areas permanently used by Finnish Defence Forces and Border Guard, and they total 15.

The DCA also provides for the prepositioning of defence equipment, supplies and materiel, for the legal status of U.S. forces, civilian personnel, dependents and contractors, for the security of U.S. forces, for criminal jurisdiction and for practical issues such as taxation, customs duty, claims for compensation and imports.

Due to the DCA, the government proposed amendments to the Firearms Act, the Aliens Act, the Act on Military Vehicles, the Value Added Tax Act, the Act on Tort Liability of the State, the Driving Licence Act, the Act on Electronic Communication Services, the Aviation Act, the Act on the Airport Network and Airport Charges, and the Vehicles Act.

The actual impacts of the DCA will depend on the extent of future cooperation between Finland and the United States.

According to the proposal, Article 3 on access to the agreed facilities and areas listed in the Annex; Article 4 on the prepositioning of defence equipment, supplies and materiel; Article 6 on the security of U.S. forces; and Article 11 on entry and movement contain provisions that are incompatible with the provisions of the Finnish Constitution concerning these matters. For this reason, it is proposed that Parliament make the decision to accept the DCA by a two-thirds majority vote required by the Constitution in these kind of situations.

On December 18, 2023, Finland and USA signed the bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) between Finland and USA in Washington DC.

Earlier in November 2023, U.S. Ambassador to Finland Douglas Hickey said that the U.S. military arriving in Finland, under the auspices of the DCA, will remain under U.S. legal jurisdiction.


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