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Army international cooperation continues also under exceptional circumstances

Army
4.12.2020 13.59
Press release
Commander of the Finnish Army, Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko, and Commander of the Swedish Army, Major General Karl L. E. Engelbrektson met in Mikkeli. From Sweden the meeting was also attended by Brigadier General Laura Swaan Wrede and Brigadier General Mikael Frisell.

The majority of international meetings have been organised online. When the situation and restrictions allow for it, the most important negotiations have been carried out face to face conforming to the COVID-19-related health and safety instructions. On 3-4 December 2020, Commander of the Swedish Army, Major General Karl L. E. Engelbrektson visited Mikkeli.

In the Army Command, the visit of Major General Engelbrektson was hosted by Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Petri Hulkko. During the visit, the Commanders discussed the bilateral cooperation between the Finnish and Swedish Armies as well as its future guidelines. 

In addition, Major General Engelbrektson was familiarised with the Training 2020 Programme, materiel acquisitions, and the measures implemented in the Army to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

- Development of the cooperation between the Finnish and Swedish Armies proceeds systematically despite the coronavirus situation, Lieutenant General Hulkko states.

Objectives have been met

Army international cooperation continues also under exceptional circumstances by adjusting activities to the prevailing coronavirus situation. Although it has not been possible to conduct combined exercise activities as originally planned, developing international cooperating continues with good results also in 2020.

- Thanks to anticipatory measures, the objectives set for international activities have mainly been met, Acting Chief of International Section, Major Joonas Fraktman from the Army Command says.

As an example of particular achievement, Major Fraktman brings up the cooperation between Finland and Sweden.

- The FISE cooperation continues systematically. Finland and Sweden sustain functioning secure network connections that facilitate cooperating, Major Fraktman points out.

During the autumn, also Army staff talks have been implemented with the Armies of Sweden, Norway, and the UK. The staff talks involve discussing mutual cooperation, topical issues, and future outlook assessment.

Experiences will be utilised also in the future

The majority of international meetings and visits have been organised online. When the situation and restrictions allow for it, the most important negotiations have been carried out face to face conforming to the COVID-19-related health and safety instructions.

The experiences accrued while operating during the coronavirus situation have informed the planning process of international affairs.

- Online meetings will not completely replace face to face meetings in the future, though it is now possible to organise preparation meetings online increasingly effectively, Major Fraktman explains.

The continuation of the exceptional conditions has been prepared for in the planning of international activities for the coming year.

- We are prepared to organise meetings with online access according to need. Exercise activities aim to provide opportunities for international cooperating albeit on a smaller scale than usual.