Finnish communists slam govt. proposal for increased military spending on fighter planes

Finland’s Ministry of Finance has proposed increased military expenditure in its 2021 budget for the procurement of new multipurpose fighter planes to replace the currently used Hornet fleet

August 18, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch

Members of the Communist Party of Finland (SKP) and its mass fronts have opposed the Ministry of Finance’s proposal to earmark more funds for military spending in the 2021 Budget. On August 14, Friday, SKP secretary general Tiina Sandberg raised serious concerns in her column in TIEDONANTAJA regarding the government’s plan to increase defense spending to procure new multi-purpose fighter planes.

According to reports, the ministry has proposed a total of EUR 4.87 billion (USD 5.77 billion USD) to be allotted to the Ministry of Defense in 2021, which is over 54% more than this year’s budget of EUR 1.70 billion (USD 2.01 billion). The major chunk of the increased budget allocation for the military is to procure new multipurpose fighter planes for the implementation of the new generation HX multi-role fighter program. By 2030, Finland reportedly plans to  acquire up to 64 new fighters for an amount of around EUR 10 billion, which will replace the currently used Hornet fleet.

Tina Sandberg opined that “the acquisition of fighters has been estimated to burden the Finnish economy for a total of 12 years, after which the costs would consist mainly of various maintenance costs. The effects of these on the economy have also been estimated to be significant.”

“In addition to the acquisition costs, It has been estimated that Finland will have to pay at least about EUR 23 billion for different operating and maintenance costs as part of the life cycle costs of the F-35 fighter, which is generally considered the most likely to be bought. This will raise the share of defense spending in GDP significantly higher than the estimate in 2021,” she added.

SKP chairman JP Väisänen said over social media, “Sanna Marin’s government in Finland is now losing its left and peace politics.” 

Earlier in April, activist groups launched a citizens initiative petition calling for a legislation to halt and re-assess fighter procurement which will overburden the Finnish economy already hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.