chapter  9
Finland: From Neutrality to Constructive Europeanness
ByTeija Tiilikainen
Pages 12

When viewed from a historical perspective, Finland’s policy vis-à-vis the MENA region has been quite robust, although its agenda has been narrow. The Middle East peace process used to be one of the key targets for Finland’s Cold War policy of neutrality, linked with aspirations towards active participation in international conflict prevention and peacekeeping. Finland’s two terms in the UN Security Council in 1969-70 and 1989-90 were both characterised by conciliation tasks in major conflicts in the Middle East. Since the early years of the country’s UN membership in the 1950s, Finland has taken part in major peacekeeping operations in the region, which have formed an important link to political developments there. Another important bridge was created by trade relations, which were broadened in the aftermath of the energy crisis in the 1970s and which occasionally elevated the Gulf countries to the group of the most important export countries for Finland outside Europe.