Press release 176/2013
26 August 2013
In his speech at the Annual Meeting of Finnish Heads of Mission on 26 August, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja took a stand on the current debate about cyber security, saying: “The development of new technology in the digital age and recent information that has come to light concerning its use for spying – here it must be remembered that we know almost nothing about similar activities carried out by most states – have highlighted the need to take effective measures to prevent infringement of both private and government data protection. This is anything but easy as concerns technology, law and morality.”
“The achievement of international norms that take into account data protection, the freedom of the internet as well as the interests of security, and to which all of the central actors would be truly committed, is very difficult, but cannot be impossible,” Foreign Minister Tuomioja stressed. “The key issues are adherence to the principles of the democratic and transparent rule of law and ensuring the freedom of the internet. Intervention in the case of violations requires, among others, rigorous international norms, the implementation and monitoring of these norms, as well as the fact that there must consequences in the case of violations,” Minister Tuomioja stated.
In his speech, the Foreign Minister also emphasised that Finland’s foreign and security policy is based on a comprehensive concept of security as well as a strong commitment to international cooperation. As an example of this, Minister Tuomioja mentioned the international Arms Trade Treaty, for which negotiations were launched at the initiative of Finland and six other states. Finland aims to be among the first to ratify the Treaty.
According to the Foreign Minister, Finland’s own strengths are its highly developed good governance and democracy as well as all the Nordic welfare state based on equal treatment for all, the preservation and further development of which will continue to be central in the future. In addition, gender equality and the learning outcomes of the country’s educational system are Finland’s strengths, which can and should be incorporated into various forms of cooperation with other countries.
“The sustainability of our welfare model, however, is not a given matter, nor does it depend only on our own will and know-how,” Tuomioja stressed. “In an interdependent world, no country can opt out of international cooperation; instead, partners must be sought near and far.”
Additional information: Tero Shemeikka, Press Attaché to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, mobile tel. +358 40 515 1097