Brexit boon for Russia says Finnish expert

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Teija Tiilikainen, chief of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, says that Russia is pleased by the crumbling of the European community. (Yle News)
Teija Tiilikainen, chief of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, says that Russia is pleased by the crumbling of the European community. (Yle News)
A crumbling European community is pleasing to Russia, says the chief of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. She says that Russia’s perception of the EU has been of a series of midsized nation-states rather than a conglomerate of cooperators.

When one of the EU’s large military powers ejects itself from the tight-knit community, it can only weaken the union’s credibility in its security and defense politics, says Teija Tiilikainen, chief of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

She says that in the current destabilised European circumstances a strong and coherent union would have been an advantage for its inhabitants and their safety.

“This has now experienced a blow whose scope we have yet to determine,” Tiilikainen says.

Tiilikainen says that the situation is tricky, because in recent years the significance of a Europe-wide security collaboration has been underlined. Now the union’s area will diminish, its population will decrease and its military assets will decline. No one yet knows how Britain will position itself to the EU in the future or how close-set its cooperation with it will be.

“The process of negotiating the departure of a central member state weakens the union’s available chances to defend the common European social order.”

“In accordance with Russian goals”

Tiilikainen says that Russia is pleased by the crumbling of the European community. She says Russia has seen the EU more as a collection of individual nation-states rather than as a tight-knit union.

“We can say that developments leading to the dismantling of the European Union is in the interests of Russia,” Tiilikainen says.

She adds that Russia has for decades preferred to handle its relationships directly with the union’s larger member-states, rather than through the EU’s own leadership.

Finland’s security in play

Tiilikainen says that the direction now being taken is of vital importance to Finland, too. She is nonetheless unwilling to speculate on whether the situation will lead to a reassessment of Finland’s need to join Nato.

“Certainly this is an important turn of events for Finland, a country that will need to draw conclusions on whether the EU’s performance has been compromised in some way relevant to its interests. Finland needs to find new partners to collaborate with.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada & Sweden cooperate on Arctic science, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Japan, Finland agree to boost cooperation in the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Germany: Why the Brexit bodes ill for the Arctic, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger

Iceland:  More Arctic research, intn’l cooperation needed, The Indpendent Barents Observer

United States: Obama and Nordic leaders pledge Arctic cooperation, Alaska Dispatch News

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