Pushed together by external forces?
The foreign and security policies of Estonia and Finland in the context of the Ukraine crisis
Kristi Raik, Mika Aaltola, Katri Pynnöniemi, Charly Salonius-Pasternak
The Finnish Institute of International Affairs
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New turbulence in the international environment is pushing Estonia and Finland closer together in the foreign and security policy domain. The Ukraine crisis has re-introduced old geopolitical constraints and concerns about national security and sovereignty, limiting the room for manoeuvre for small states.
Estonia and Finland took similar positions on many key issues regarding the Ukraine crisis. The common ground is based on both countries’ attachment to the liberal world order and Western structures.
However, there are deep-rooted differences between the Estonian and Finnish positions on the way to handle Russia and the need to adjust security arrangements, notably the role of NATO in the Nordic-Baltic region. It is common in Finland to see Estonia’s approach as unhelpfully hawkish, and common in Estonia to see Finland’s approach as too accommodating towards Russia.
Shared interests stem from an understanding that the weakening of the security of one country inevitably weakens the security of the other. As both countries are investing more in national security and defence, relevant bilateral cooperation is increasing.