Skip to content
Press release from Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Unique Nordic-Baltic cooperation to support Ukraine’s closer ties to the EU


Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström is launching a high-level group that will provide expert support to Ukraine’s Government during its EU accession process.

“We are proud to jointly offer the most experienced experts from our countries. They will play a crucial role in supporting Ukraine in its EU accession process. We need to come together and do what we can for peace, security and our European community. This initiative under Sweden’s coordination of the NB8 cooperation format provides a genuine opportunity to facilitate Ukraine’s journey towards EU membership,” says Mr Billström.

“This is a concrete example of how Sweden actively and on a broad front supports Ukraine in not just winning the war, but also winning peace. It’s part of our long-term and powerful strategy to see two blue and yellow flags flying in Kyiv – both the Ukrainian and the EU flag,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell.

The group includes Swedish principal advisers Cecilia Malmström and Katarina Areskoug.  

“It’s a great privilege to contribute to this historic process for Ukraine’s EU membership. I feel humble and proud to have been asked to help on this journey. Ukraine is a member of the European family,” says Ms Malmström.

“The importance of Ukraine's EU membership cannot be overemphasised – both as regards our own security, and Ukraine’s future development. I’m honoured to have been asked to contribute to the membership negotiations and look forward to this assignment,” says Ms Areskoug.

Ms Malmström has extensive experience of EU cooperation as a Member of the European Parliament in 1999–2006 and as Sweden’s European Commissioner in 2010–2019. In 2006–2010, she was Minister for EU Affairs in the Swedish Government. 

Ms Areskoug also has extensive experience of EU issues as Head of the Representation of the European Commission in Sweden and as State Secretary for EU affairs and international issues to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. She was also stationed in Brussels for 10 years as a diplomat posted from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

High-level Advisory Group

  • Alar Streimann, Estonia
  • Algirdas Šemeta, Lithuania
  • Andris Piebalgs, Latvia
  • Cecilia Malmström, Sweden
  • Högni S. Kristjánsson, Iceland
  • Katarina Areskoug, Sweden
  • Laimonas Čiakas, Lithuania
  • Marja Rislakki, Finland
  • Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson, Iceland

About the NB8 and the N5

In 2024, Sweden is coordinating the informal foreign and security cooperation formats between the Nordic countries (N5) and the Nordic and Baltic countries (NB8). The main priorities of this role as coordinator are to strengthen foreign and security policy cooperation in the region, maintain our regional unwavering support for Ukraine and ensure continued global support for Ukraine.