Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hosted summit on Gotland
On Friday 13 October, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hosted a Summit in Visby attended by heads of state and government within the framework of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) regional defence cooperation partnership. At the Summit, the leaders discussed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, stronger cooperation with NATO and the countering of hybrid threats. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took part via video link.
“We discussed Ukraine’s defence against Russia, and have agreed that Ukraine will be invited to observe JEF exercises in 2024 and 2025 with the aim of strengthening Ukraine’s capabilities and learning from their experiences,” says Prime Minister Kristersson.
The Summit was held on Gotland, which plays a key military-strategic role in the defence of the Baltic Sea. The Summit underscored the importance of operational and strategic cooperation within the JEF, which is a defence cooperation partnership between ten northern European countries and is led by the UK.
Hybrid threats and total defence on the agenda
At the summit, the JEF leaders also discussed hybrid threats directed against critical national infrastructure and total defence, i.e. civil and military defence, which is fundamental for both national and international defence cooperation.
The leaders agreed during the summit to task the JEF defence ministers with discussing the issue of critical infrastructure security.
The JEF – an important complement to NATO
For Sweden, the JEF is an importation cooperation format focused on regional security in northern Europe. The JEF also contributes to the strengthening of the credibility of NATO’s deterrence and defence. Exercises with other JEF countries strengthen cooperation and military capabilities, which in turn increases stability and security in the Baltic Sea region.
At the Summit in Visby, the heads of state and government stressed the importance of Sweden becoming a full NATO member as soon as possible.
Presentation of military equipment for Ukraine
In conjunction with the Summit, the Gotland Regiment, P 18, presented military equipment that Sweden is sending to Ukraine. Swedish materiel is currently being used in Ukraine to defend the country’s independence and survival. Combat Vehicle 90, Leopard tanks and anti-tank weapons (AT4) are examples of the Swedish military equipment currently saving lives in Ukraine.
Facts about the JEF
The Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is a regional defence partnership between ten northern European countries: Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, which also leads the JEF. The aim of this cooperation is to strengthen the capacity to act jointly, and it is a framework for a rapid reaction force to intervene in the event of a crisis and conflict. The JEF’s three geographical focus areas are the Baltic Sea region, the North Atlantic, and the High North.
This cooperation complements NATO and enables rapid response to crises that are below the threshold of an armed attack and activation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The JEF is based on voluntary participation and the member countries decide independently in each case whether to take part in exercises and military operations.
The JEF Vision
At the meeting, a 10-year vision for the cooperation in the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) was adopted.