Next spring, a center against hybrid threats will be opened in the Finnish capital of Helsinki. Besides Finland, which also aims to be the chief sponsor of the project, a number of EU and NATO member states are going to participate. Besides Finland, Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Poland and the United States signaled a keen interest in joining the organization, Finnish daily Hufvudstadsbladet reported.
The routine of the new organization has been worked out in close cooperation with EU officials and NATO. Among other things, the center will engage in research and education. Another objective is to make it easier to disseminate the experience of hybrid threats among member states.
At the beginning, the center will have a limited staff of four to six employees. According to Jori Arvonen, the center will nevertheless have an annual budget of €2 million ($2.15mln), of which Finland will pay the most. The reason why just Helsinki was picked as future headquarters is that Finnish authorities are renowned for their teamwork stretching across administrative boundaries.
Earlier this year, Finnish Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö claimed that Russia was waging a hybrid war against Finland, identifying Mid-Eastern refugees as a possible weapon of subversion. Earlier this month, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) expressed concern over Russian-owned property, which in times of crisis could be converted into clandestine military bases.