FINABEL - European Land Capability Cooperation

Indecipherable at first sight, the acronym FINABEL denotes a nearly 60-year-old organisation that aims at enhancing the interoperability of its European member states’ Armies with no political strings attached.

Founded in 1953 as part of the Western European Union to represent an independent organisation, FINABEL carries the initials of its five founding member states, namely, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Italy. Currently, this organisation operates as a cooperation body comprising altogether 22 member states.

Meanwhile, in 2008, the Finnish Army was established as a Service in its own right, and, in the wake of this development, also the charting of European cooperation opportunities became topical. Consequently, Finland being a European Union member state and FINABEL representing an apolitical organisation, Finland joined the FINABEL family back in 2008.

Key products of FINABEL

The key products of FINABEL equal recommendations, guidelines and regulation collections as well as studies related to Land Forces featuring the standpoint of the member states concerning Army standard procedures. For the purposes of generating the recommendations and guidelines, FINABEL sustains a bespoke organisation which functions under the supervision and in accordance with the decisions made in the annual Chiefs of Staff meeting. Furthermore, the defined areas of interest continue to be examined in studies in-progress by designated expert task groups, or ETGs.

Member states suggest proposals for research topics, and a designated ETG then typically conducts research on one topic at a time within a set one-year-long timeframe. The set permanent representatives in the ETGs contribute the given member states’ substance-matter expertise, and the resulting end products take the form of high quality set of recommendations, guidelines or manuals. Each member state utilises the end products as they deem fit. In Finland, the applicable manuals and guidelines are adopted in use in accordance with the set standards governing manual approval.

How does Finland benefit from its FINABEL membership?

With its foregoing production of high quality recommendations and manuals for the Armies’ utilization, FINABEL sustains cooperation with the European Defence Agency (EDA), the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) as well as the NATO. In FINABEL, the results of this cooperation take the form of tangible and swiftly produced end products that directly benefit the Army.

By and large, common standard procedures combined with the experiences accrued from others result in mimimised instances of error and rather optimise the European Armies’ joint operating capability, for instance, in crisis management missions. As the Armies’ leadership convenes in meetings, the official venue also offers the opportunity for informal exchange of knowledge and ideas concerning the Land Forces’ development. The objective of FINABEL is to welcome all the European Union member states as its members, since, after all, FINABEL continues to represents the only European Armies’ cooperation organisation functioning within the EU framework.

Further information on FINABEL is available online at www.finabel.org