Security shocks for EU member states outside NATO: Finnish and Irish perspectives on defence transformation

Webinar · 16.03.2022 16:00 - 17:15

Finland and Ireland benefit from a long-established security partnership, both are EU member states without NATO membership and have prioritized norm-entrepreneurship in their foreign policies, cooperating closely on various security issues of mutual concern. With confidence-building in Europe devastated by Russia’s escalatory military invasion of Ukraine, this event will examine Irish and Finnish perspectives on defence transformation for upcoming challenges, discussing many different and important insights on the future of defence transformation and cooperation in Europe. Both Finland and Ireland gain prosperity from technology-driven economies and are highly globally interconnected. Bordering Russia, Finland has prioritized defence transformation across its cyber, land, maritime and airspace domains, while also developing strong security cooperation within the EU, NORDEFCO and with NATO over recent years. With different strategic geography, Ireland has not been as active in defence and security affairs, but hybrid interference has recently become a serious security concern. Following the publication of the Commission on the Defence Forces (CoDF) report in February 2022, Ireland is now also set to embark on a landmark era of defence reform.

The webinar is arranged in co-operation with The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA).



Opening Words

Mika Aaltola

Director, FIIA

Mika Aaltola is the Director of FIIA. Dr Aaltola is also a professor of International Relations at Tallinn University, Estonia, and holds the rank of docent at Tampere University. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Sciences Po (CERI), and Johns Hopkins as well as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. His areas of expertise include the US global role, dynamics of power politics, and Finnish foreign policy. His latest published monograph is "Democratic Vulnerability and Autocratic Meddling – The 'Thucydidean Brink' in Regressive Geopolitical Competition" (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2021).

Esa Pulkkinen

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence of Finland

Esa Pulkkinen has been the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence since 1 January 2022. Previously, he served as the Director General of the Defence Policy Department in the Ministry of Defence (2020-2022). He acted in the same position from 2010 to 2016. In 2016-2020, Pulkkinen served as Director General of the European Union Military Staff in Brussels. He is a General Staff Officer and has previously served, among other things, as Assistant Chief of Staff in the Defence Command, Commander of the Jaeger Brigade and Branch Chief and National Expert in the EU Military Staff. Pulkkinen was a member of the independent Commission on the Irish Defence Forces, which published its report in February 2022.

Marie Cross

Board Member and Senior Fellow, The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA)

Marie Cross is a retired member of the Department of Foreign Affairs. In the course of her career she served in posts in New York, Washington Brussels and Bonn. She was ambassador to the Czech Republic and to Ukraine, and to the Political and Security Committee of the EU. She is Chair of the Future of Europe Group of the IIEA and Co-Chair of the Security and Defence Group. She holds a degree in science from UCD. She was appointed to the Board in 2013 and is also Senior Fellow of the IIEA. She was a member of the independent Commission on the Irish Defence Forces, which published its report in February 2022.

Eoin McNamara

Visiting Research Fellow, FIIA

Eoin Micheál McNamara is a visiting research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) and a PhD researcher at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, University of Tartu in Estonia where he taught extensively in International Relations between 2013 and 2020. His main research interests include: security studies; transatlantic relations; NATO; US grand strategy; and the transformation war. He has published in the NATO Review, the Revue Militaire Suisse, the Defence Forces Review and Irish Studies in International Affairs, among other outlets, and his commentary on security and defence policy has been quoted in the New York Times, the Irish Times, and with the Estonian Public Broadcasting Service (ERR) and Ireland’s national broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ). He has been awarded visiting research fellowships at the Centre for War Studies (CWS) at the University of Southern Denmark (2020) and at the Institute of International Relations (IIR) in Prague, Czech Republic (2019).


Tyyne Karjalainen

Research Fellow, FIIA

Tyyne Karjalainen is a researcher at the European Union research programme of FIIA. Her research focuses on European Union foreign and security policy and differentiated integration in the EU. Her publications also cover peace building, crisis management and peace mediation. Before joining FIIA, Karjalainen has worked at the Civilian Security Sector Reform Component at the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) in Ukraine, the Research and Development Unit of the Crisis Management Centre (CMC) Finland, and the Finnish Permanent Representation to the United Nations in New York. Karjalainen is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Turku. She holds a degree from the Master’s Programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research at the University of Tampere.