The game is afoot

Finnish foreign policy offers an example of how to change without ever changing. The prospective government parties have announced that they have arrived at an agreement on security policy, which is that there'll be no changes. According to chief negotiators Paula Lehtomäki (Centre Party) and Ilkka Kanerva (National Coalition Party), the exact language on NATO will change, but that this change shouldn't be taken as evidence that something has changed, oh no. The lack of changes that are changes won't stop the government from changing things should the need arise, of course.

Having said that, the International Herald Tribune carries an AP article that maybe goes a bit too far:

Finland and Sweden have agreed to join NATO's rapid reaction force, Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said Saturday, further increasing the neutral countries' cooperation with the alliance.

Vanhanen confirmed that Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja and his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt, have prepared a joint response on participating in the alliance's new 25,000-strong Response Force.
Finnish sources (fi) report that Finland isn't joining the NATO Response Force inasmuch as it will be taking part in the force's training exercises. Vanhanen (Centre) said that no new decisions have been made and that the status quo had been that Finland may take in part in practice activities. Tuomioja (Social Democratic Party) noted that "neither country would be on standby for deployment to crisis hotspots and that a separate decision on participation would be made for each NRF operation." (Note how, despite that nothing has changed, the Finnish military will be cooperating with NATO in new ways.)

In other news:
Finland's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is preparing a policy positional document that recommends the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) join the NATO-led Strategic Airlift Consortium program (SAC).

The NATO SAC project, which involves the 15 European NATO members and Sweden, aims to coordinate military transports via air, sea and land. The project seeks to merge each country's military transport management centers into one central command organization.

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