A major military spending project is to be delayed because of the resignation of the government earlier this month.
A decision on the acquisition of three new corvettes for the navy has to be put on hold until after the general election on 14th April, and until a new government is sworn in. The next minister of defence, whoever he or she might be, will then have the authority to make decisions on the naval project.
The announcement came from the Ministry of Defence after they specifically asked the Chancellor of Justice for a ruling on whether the current Minister of Defence – who is technically now a caretaker Minister of Defence – would have legal authority to move forward with the project.
The Chancellor of Justice decided that routine or urgent matters can be approved by the current Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö (Blue), but he couldn’t authorise any initiatives at this stage which might affect the incoming government.
The Finnish navy is ordering four new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes, which replace seven older ships that will be decommissioned. The corvettes themselves will all be build in Finland for reasons of national security, but the combat systems including an €83 million Sparrowhawk surface-to-air missile system already ordered from America, and other mission-critical components, will be bought from overseas through separate tendering processes.
There was negative reaction from security policy watchers online to today’s notification of a delay to the project.
“Main issue is that the schedule is strained from before, this is the nail in the coffin […] I am pleasantly surprised if we have a signed order before the end of May, but I have been known to be pessimistic” writes security policy and defence blogger Robin Häggblom.