At its meeting on 22 August 2014, the President of the Republic and the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Security Policy outlined that Finland will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Host Nation Support (HNS) between Finland and NATO.
HNS is a general international concept applied in situations when a country accepts external assistance or resources on its territory. In these cases, it is necessary to agree on concrete procedures and practical measures. Such situations may arise in various disasters, disruptions and threats to security. HNS arrangements are also an established part of normal international training exercises and other military cooperation.
HNS is not a new thing. Finland has provided HNS, for example, in international exercises held in Finland. After the Memorandum of Understanding is signed, it will be possible to agree the details of HNS more efficiently in future. Standardised operating models facilitate cooperation in an international operating environment. NATO standards are prevalent in international defence cooperation. In addition, since 2001 the Government’s security and defence policy reports have outlined securing the capacity to accept external assistance as one element of defence development.
The Memorandum of Understanding to be signed with NATO is a framework document on whose basis the practical HNS suitable for each specific case will be separately agreed.
The memorandum is not an international treaty; it is by nature a policy document. The memorandum does not require either party to give or accept assistance or forces. Finland will therefore decide itself in all circumstances whether it will initiate activity in which HNS needs to be agreed. Finland does not commit itself under the Memorandum of Understanding to accept foreign forces in Finland or to permit the transit of such forces.
A framework arrangement on HNS has been among the partnership objectives of Finland and NATO since 2002. Preparation of the Memorandum of Understanding began in spring 2013, because 2016 had been set as the target schedule for the implementation of the partnership objective. Preparation has been coordinated together with Sweden which has a similar objective and schedule.
Further information: Director General Kirsti Kauppi, tel. +358 295 351 561, Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Senior Adviser Mika Varvikko, tel. +358 295 140 316, Ministry of Defence.