A new era for defence: In Conversation With the President of the Republic of Finland, Alexander Stubb

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Peace, Security & Defence
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Alexander Stubb

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For more than two years, the Russian war in Ukraine has been characterised by brutality, deprivation and death. This is a human tragedy touching millions of people in every corner of Europe’s largest country.

The brutal onslaught has also forced European leaders to fundamentally recalibrate the continent’s defence and security policy.

Mere weeks after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join NATO, abandoning long-held positions of military neutrality and harkening a new era for defence policy in the Nordic countries. Less than one year later, in April 2023, Finland became a member of the alliance, following the speediest ratification process in recent history, extending NATO influence in the Baltic Sea and doubling its land border with Russia.

The events of 24 February 2022 ruptured the security status quo in Europe. The return of war to the continent brought with it a recognition that the EU needs to become a stronger security provider, in its own right. In response, the EU has introduced measures to: enhance joint procurement between member states, bolster the continent’s defence readiness, and ramp up investment in the defence sector, to support Ukraine.

This strategic pivot brought European defence shortcomings into stark relief and is an important milestone in the development of the European project.

As this new era for defence policy begins to form, Friends of Europe is pleased to welcome the President of the Republic of Finland, Alexander Stubb for a conversation on the future of European defence and security policy. This conversation will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience.

This engagement is part of our Ukraine Initiative.

Please note that registration for this eventis only finalised when confirmed by Friends of Europe. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, and join the #DoNotNormaliseTheWar conversation!


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PHOTO CREDIT: Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Jussi Ratilainen

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In Conversation With the President of the Republic of Finland, Alexander Stubb
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Photo of Geert Cami
Geert Cami

Co-Founder and Secretary General of Friends of Europe, and Co-Founder and Co-Secretary General of the Africa-Europe Foundation

Show more information on Geert Cami

Geert Cami co-founded Friends of Europe, the action-oriented think tank, in 1999. As Secretary General, Geert mainly deals with the strategic development of Friends of Europe, he coordinates the work of the high-level Boards involved in the governance of the organisation and chairs the Leadership meetings. He oversees both the financial health and the successful running of the organisation and its flagship initiatives, and focuses on the expansion and the activation of Friends of Europe’s vast network of trustees, European young leaders and other senior political, corporate, media and societal contacts and partners throughout the world.

Geert also is a founding member of the Boards of both the Africa-Europe Foundation, and of TownHall Europe (the Davignon Centre for New Leadership).

Geert headed the European conference organising, press relations and publishing company Forum Europe for more than ten years, and managed the revival of one of Belgium’s finest architectural examples of Art Nouveau, after creating La Maison de l’Europe in the prestigious 100-year-old Bibliothèque Solvay.

At the outset of his career, Geert worked for a few years in the humanitarian office (ECHO) at the European Commission, as deputy in the newly set-up information and communications unit. His focus was mainly on raising the profile of the EU’s humanitarian efforts throughout the world, through publications and media initiatives such as exhibitions, television debates or Humanitarian Days in Member States.

He also worked for two music programmes at Belgian public Radio 1, and very briefly as a teacher and TV journalist.

Dharmendra Kanani
Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sectors and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

Alexander Stubb
Alexander Stubb

President of the Republic of Finland

Show more information on Alexander Stubb

Alexander Stubb is President of the Republic of Finland. Prior to this role, Stubb served as Finland’s Prime Minister and previously served as the country’s finance minister, foreign minister and trade and Europe minister. Previously, Stubb was Director of the School of Transnational Governance at the European University Institute and as the Vice President of the European Investment Bank.  

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