Strengthened Nordic defence cooperation in focus at ministerial meeting in Finland
On Thursday 25 August, the defence ministers of Sweden, Finland and Norway met at Gustaf Mannerheim’s hunting lodge in southern Finland. During the day, they discussed Swedish-Finnish defence cooperation and cooperation between Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Swedish-Finnish defence cooperation has intensified over time and, in June 2022, the countries signed a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on host country support. Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist and Finnish Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen stated at the meeting that bilateral defence cooperation will remain a high priority.
“The very close cooperation we already have with Finland will contribute to a stronger NATO, stronger Nordic defence cooperation and increased security in the Baltic Sea region and the Arctic. It is quite clear that the level and scope of bilateral defence cooperation is a major advantage now that we are to become members of NATO at the same time,” said Mr Hultqvist.
Together with the Norwegian defence minister, they discussed developments in the trilateral cooperation constellation between Sweden, Norway and Finland and how cooperation has developed since the Joint Statement of Intent was signed in 2020. They also discussed the conditions for cooperation in the event of Swedish and Finnish membership of NATO.
“The Cap of the North and neighbouring areas are strategically important for the defence of our countries in the event of a crisis or war. Strengthened cooperation between Sweden, Norway and Finland has thus become all the more important. The international cooperation we have successfully pursued in recent years has generated a wealth of experience and progress that we will now be able to build on,” said Mr Hultqvist after the meeting, which took place in Gustaf Mannerheim’s hunting lodge in Loppi in southern Finland.