Twenty-five years of EU membership: Reinforcing Finnish security

Webinar · 22.10.2020 10:00 - 12:15

Recording of the webinar:

Finland’s EU membership in 1995 led to a profound change in the country’s foreign policy – a full economic and political alignment with the EU. Although Finland adhered to military non-alignment, security was one of the key drivers of the membership. Recently, the deterioration of the European security environment as well as the more competitive global milieu marked with great power rivalry have yet again highlighted the importance of the EU for Finland. What have been the key changes and trends in Finnish foreign policy during the EU membership? How do these compare with Austrian and Swedish foreign policy developments? What will be the key trends shaping the next 25 years of these countries’ EU membership?

This seminar will mark the 25th anniversary of Finland’s EU membership, and the publication of a FIIA Finnish Foreign Policy Paper focusing on change and continuity in Finland’s foreign policy. The seminar is organised in cooperation with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Registration to Maija Salonen ( by Tuesday 20 October.


10.00-11.00 Session I
Opening words:
Matti Anttonen, Permanent State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Introduction of paper: “Finnish foreign policy during EU membership: Unlocking the EU’s security potential”
Matti Pesu, Senior Research Fellow, FIIA
Tuomas Iso-Markku, Research Fellow, FIIA
Gunilla Herolf, Senior Associate Research Fellow, Swedish Institute of International Affairs
Maximilian Hennig, Austrian Ambassador to Finland
Juha Jokela, Programme Director, FIIA

11.00-11.15 Break

11.15-12.15 Session II
Panel discussion: “The next 25 years: Changing world and Europe”
Keynote address:
Jyrki Katainen, President of Sitra
Paul Schmidt, General Secretary, Austrian Society for European Politics
Hanna Ojanen, Docent, Finnish National Defence University and University of Helsinki
Mika Kukkonen, Director, Unit for General EU Affairs and Coordination, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Closing Remarks:
Mika Aaltola, Director, FIIA


Opening words

Matti Anttonen

Permanent State Secretary, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Matti Anttonen is the Permanent State Secretary of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. He has previously served as the Under-Secretary of State for External Economic Affairs and as Finland’s Ambassador to Stockholm. Much of Anttonen’s career has been connected with Russia. From 2008 to 2012 he served as Finland’s Ambassador to Moscow. Other foreign postings include Finnish Embassy in Washington DC and Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN in Geneva. Matti Anttonen joined the Ministry in 1986. He holds Master’s degrees both in economics and in modern history.

Introduction of paper

Matti Pesu

Senior Research Fellow, FIIA

Matti Pesu is a Senior Research Fellow at FIIA, where he works in the European Union research programme. He is interested in Finnish foreign, security and defence policy and Euroatlantic security. Dr Pesu defended his doctoral dissertation at the Tampere University in 2019 under the title "Introducing Ideational Foreign Policy Analysis: Explorations on the Underlying Ideas of Finnish Foreign Policy".

Introduction of paper

Tuomas Iso-Markku

Research Fellow, FIIA

Tuomas Iso-Markku is a Research Fellow at FIIA. His research interests include the EU’s role in the area of security and defence, the European Parliament, German politics, Finland’s EU policy and Nordic foreign and security policy cooperation. Prior to joining FIIA, Iso-Markku studied and worked in Germany. He holds an M.A. in European Studies from the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) and a Magister in Political Science from the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań.


Gunilla Herolf

Senior Associate Research Fellow, Swedish Institute of International Affairs

Gunilla Herolf is Senior Associate Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI/SIIA). She has a PhD in political science from Stockholm University. She has previously been senior researcher at UI/SIIA and at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Her main areas of research are European security cooperation and Nordic security policy. Between 2000 and 2016 she was board member of the Trans European Policy Studies Association (TEPSA) and since 2013 she is member (later chairman) of the Research Council of the Åland Islands Peace Institute. She is member (2010–2014 Vice President) of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences.


Maximilian Hennig

Austrian Ambassador to Finland

Maximilian Hennig has been Austria’s Ambassador to Finland since 2018. Ambassador Hennig joined the Austrian Diplomatic Service in 1999 and has since served on diplomatic postings in Stockholm and Brussels and worked for the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Most recently he held the position of Director General in the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture and Environment.


Juha Jokela

Programme Director, FIIA

Juha Jokela is the Programme Director of the European Union research programme at FIIA. His current research interests include political implications of brexit, differentiated integration (in EU’s external relations), and the EMU reforms. His previous projects and publications include political and security developments in the Arctic, EU’s role in the G20, EU’s Asia policy, Europeanization of foreign policy, and Finland’s EU policy. Previously he has worked in the EUISS as a Senior Associated Analyst and Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Advisor in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Research Fellow and Director of the Network for European Studies at the University of Helsinki. Dr Jokela holds a PhD from the University of Bristol (UK).

Keynote address

Jyrki Katainen

President of Sitra

Jyrki Katainen is the President of Sitra. Jyrki Katainen’s career has focused on analysing societal change, finding solutions and decision-making. Before his appointment as the President of Sitra, Katainen was the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. Prior to the Commission, he has held the positions of Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. During his 15 years as a Member of the Finnish Parliament he has chaired the Committee for the Future among other appointments.


Paul Schmidt

General Secretary, Austrian Society for European Politics

Paul Schmidt has been General Secretary of the Austrian Society for European Politics since September 2009. Before that, he worked for the Oesterreichische Nationalbank in Vienna and Brussels as expert for European Affairs. Mr Schmidt studied international relations, political science and journalism at universities in Austria, Spain and the USA and is an alumnus of the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. He has published widely on various aspects of European integration, his comments and op-eds are regularly released in Austrian as well as in international media.


Hanna Ojanen

Docent, Finnish National Defence University and University of Helsinki

Hanna Ojanen is adjunct professor (docent) at the Finnish National Defence University and at the University of Helsinki. She holds a doctorate from the European University Institute (Florence). Her previous positions include Jean Monnet Professor at the University of Tampere (Faculty of Management), Director of the Research Programme on the European Union, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, and Head of Research, Swedish Institute of International Affairs. Her research focuses mainly on European foreign, security and defence policy and on interorganisational relations (particularly EU-NATO-UN). Her most recent book is "The EU’s Power in Inter-Organisational Relations" (Palgrave Macmillan 2018).


Mika Kukkonen

Director, Unit for General EU Affairs and Coordination, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Mika Kukkonen currently serves as a Director at the Unit for General EU Affairs and Coordination of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland. He has served as Mertens Officer and Environment & Climate attaché at the Permanent Representation of Finland at the EU in Brussels (2006-2011) and worked with a variety of EU policy sectors in Helsinki, including at the Prime Minister’s Office and at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. He started his career at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in 2004.

Closing Remarks

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).