Norway, Finland and Sweden prioritize the North in updated statement – Eye on the Arctic
The defense ministers of Finland, Norway and Sweden signed an updated statement of intent in Oslo on Tuesday that prioritizes planning for operations in the North.
The three countries all share borders in the Arctic.
“A central objective of this cooperation is to improve and strengthen the planning of operations between the participants in the areas of common interest, in particular the regions of northern Finland, Norway and the
Sweden (North Calotte and extension to other regions if necessary).
The statement also pledges to improve the ability of the armies of the three countries to operate jointly with each other.
“Given the security situation, cooperation and unity among like-minded nations is paramount,” the statement of intent on enhanced operational cooperation said. “For this reason, we are determined to take combined measures aimed at strengthening and improving our ability to conduct military operations.”
“This will serve as a deterrent against aggression”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this year has changed the security picture in Europe.
Russia is not mentioned in the statement, but the three Nordic countries said the changing security environment requires closer military cooperation and the ability to operate easily with each other.
“We will make the necessary preparations to strengthen our defense capability, interoperability, readiness and ability to provide military support to participants,” the document said. “This will serve as a deterrent against aggression.”
“New opportunities for even deeper defense cooperation”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership earlier this year.
Their requests were approved and the two countries’ accession protocols were signed on July 5. All 30 member countries must now ratify the protocols. Turkey and Hungary are the latest two countries to do so.
Tuesday’s statement said that once the process is completed, it will further facilitate defense cooperation in the region.
“The aspirations of Finland and Sweden to become members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will, after the completion of the accession process, transform our trilateral defense
relationship in an arrangement between NATO allies,” the document states.
“This will provide new opportunities for even deeper defense cooperation.”
In a joint statement Tuesday after the signing, Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen, Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram and Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson said the security challenges facing Europe require tools for greater cooperation.
“As all Nordic countries will be allies in NATO, we have decided to update the NORDEFCO vision to reflect this new strategic reality,” he said in a statement posted on the government‘s website. Norwegian. “The new Vision will guide the development of future Nordic defense cooperation between the allies.”
The declaration is not a legally binding document and does not imply any obligation for a nation to take military action.
A statement from the Finnish Ministry of Defense stressed that the document signed on Tuesday is intended to complement bilateral defense cooperation between the Nordic countries as well as trilateral cooperation between Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
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