On 18 January 2016, Riina Kaljurand and Pauli Järvenpää attended a seminar at the Embassy of Estonia in Helsinki titled “Interdependence and Hybrid Security Across the Gulf of Finland“. The seminar was organized by the Embassy of Estonia in Finland and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, and it was attended by representatives of state authorities, media, and civil society from both Estonia and Finland.
The seminar addressed shared hybrid threats between Estonia and Finland, focusing on non-military issues such as cyber security, energy, economic security, and information operations. At the outset it was noticed that although Estonia and Finland are in so many ways closely related, at an official level it has been hard to agree on clear and shared threat perceptions. What could be done to advance common understanding, so as to contribute to the security of both countries? Especially, what can be done together to strengthen the security of both countries against hybrid security challenges? It was agreed that formal agreements on sharing information in between the two countries would be important. Likewise, unofficial information sharing between the practitioners and civil servants continues to be important. People-to-people contacts, as well as contacts between civil society organizations and individuals are also a good way of building trust and sharing information. What could be the role of international cooperation, including cooperation under the auspices of the European Union and NATO? How to deal with the specific risks related to propaganda targeted at national minorities? More contacts are needed, supporting truthful national narratives aginst efforts undermining and distorting the truth. Populations, especially the elites, in both countries should be aware of and act against threats undermining the resilience of Estonian and Finnish nations and the very idea of truth.