The finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä blew a little bomb in Finnish defense policy: He pronounced France (and Germany) as Finland’s most important allies in future.(in Finnish) This might mean that Dassault Rafale will be moving into the fore in HX program. But then the same should hold true for Eurofighter Typhoon as well (because of German industry is a part). But because of Germany’s reluctance of display military strength it may were well become to be, that France will be on a driver’s seat in this European collective defence. One may ask with quite good grounds where is the muscle in EU/NATO union without USA, but current Foreign policy leadership in US does not really build confidence on part of US allies.
Finland will have greater influence in defence policy compared to many “Olde EU countries” as Finland is provider of security in Baltic area. And has armed forces mightier in most ways compared to Benelux countries armed forces.
But as France’s quite heavy handed approach in foreign and security policy, this might translate into Air Force’s getting “political guidance” in HX selection phase.
Don’t get me wrong: Rafale is a great contender in excellent bunch of multi-omni-swing role fighters, and allies procurement policy is of course of paramount importance in defence policy. We’ll see what happens..