At the beginning of June, Finnish Institute of International Affairs launched a “NATO in the North, the North in NATO” research project which examines NATO’s evolving role in Finland’s immediate security environment, Northern Europe. It is a continuation of FIIA’s past research project “Finland’s evolving role in Euro-Atlantic security”.

With the deteriorating security situation caused by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Northern Europe has become one of the strategic priorities for Euro-Atlantic security. Finland’s accession to NATO and Sweden’s future membership will further strengthen the region’s significance for the entire alliance. NATO is currently rebuilding the foundations of its collective defence, and the way in which this is done will have a significant impact on the security of both Finland and Northern Europe as a whole.

Effectively implementing NATO’s deterrence and defense in Northern Europe requires division of labour between allies. The division of labour must be tied to geographical realities, leading researcher Matti Pesu says.

By focusing on NATO’s activities in Northern Europe, the project assesses Finland’s key objectives in NATO and analyses what kind of conditions Finland has for promoting its interests within the alliance. The project also examines the effects of NATO membership on Finland’s security and defence policy.

The project provides a Finnish vision of the future development of NATO’s deterrence and defence policy. It reflects on the main objectives of Finland’s NATO policy for the next few years and Finland’s prerequisites to pursue them, Pesu describes.

The final report of the project will be published in April 2024, one year after Finland’s NATO membership and 75 years after NATO was founded.

The project is led by Matti Pesu, Leading Researcher at FIIA. The research team includes Research Fellow Joel Linnainmäki, Programme Director Harri Mikkola, Visiting Research Fellow Antti Pihlajamaa, Senior Research Fellow Iro Särkkä and Research Fellow Henri Vanhanen. The project started in June 2023 and will end in April 2024.

More information: Leading Researcher Matti Pesu, 050 355 8845,

Leading Researcher