Finnish Defence Minister slams government over planned defence spending cuts

Niinistö estimates that the cuts facing the defence administration could amount to a minimum of 50 million euros. (Ints Kalnins/Reuters)
Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö estimated that the cuts facing the defence administration would amount to at least 50 million euros.

Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö has lashed out at the government in harsh criticism of proposed spending cuts that would affect the country’s defence administration.

“Unfortunately the future doesn’t look very bright for defence resources, despite the strong upswing in the national economy. The threat comes from the government’s austerity programme, the goal of which – in itself quite correctly so—is to reduce spending in municipalities, provinces and the entire public sector,” Niinistö said on Monday at the opening of the National Defence Courses.

“Unfortunately the Finance Ministry is disproportionately focusing these spending cuts on defence administration,” Niinistö added.

The minister was referring to the government’s target of reducing public sector spending by one billion euros. The proposal aims to streamline the public sector and make it more efficient by 2019.

He said that the austerity cuts are calculated using a formula that will affect current spending in the administrative branch.

“The defence administration contains the government’s largest division, the Defence Forces, whose expenditures are naturally the largest in government.”

Niinistö estimates that the cuts facing the defence administration could amount to a minimum of 50 million euros.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Surveillance and search and rescue top Canada’s Arctic defence prioritiesRadio Canada International

Finland: Finland wants to bolster military by at least 64 fighter jets, Yle News

Norway: Norway beefs up border patrol with powerful new snowmobiles, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Tougher measures against extremism and terrorism needed on Norway and Finland borders, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Swedish military wants to double in size, Radio Sweden

United States:  Trump signs defense bill to allow more missile interceptors in Alaska, Alaska Public Media

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