Statement from the trilateral meeting between Finland, Norway and Sweden at Harpsund, Sweden, 22 February 2023
Statement from the trilateral meeting between Finland, Norway and Sweden at Harpsund, Sweden, 22 February 2023.
We, the leaders of Sweden, Finland and Norway, together with our foreign and defence ministers, gathered today in Harpsund, Sweden to discuss our common security challenges and our close cooperation on issues of foreign, security and defence policy.
Since our first meeting in this format at President Niinistö’s summer residence, Kultaranta 2019, our need to cooperate more closely has increased. We strongly condemn Russia’s unprovoked and illegal, full-scale invasion, which is approaching its one-year mark, and we confirm our strong support for Ukraine. Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity are a common and essential security interest. Our countries are major donors to Ukraine through humanitarian, military and economic assistance. Developments in and around Ukraine affect us directly.
The deteriorating security situation in our neighbourhood and Russia’s full-scale war of aggression were the factors that prompted Sweden and Finland to decide to apply for NATO membership. Security in northern Europe and the entire Alliance will increase significantly with Sweden and Finland as NATO members. Norway, Finland and Sweden, together with our Nordic neighbours, have a shared responsibility to respond to security challenges in the region, including in our northern areas. With Sweden and Finland on our way into NATO, we are working in a more integrated way to strengthen security. Our armed forces cooperate closely on land, at sea and in the air. Through comprehensive joint training, our air forces are accustomed to acting together at short notice and are highly prepared to do so. Our land forces also cooperate closely and have experience of joint action, as demonstrated in large-scale exercises such as Cold Response and Nordanvind. We will continue to deepen our cooperation in large-scale exercises in the coming years. Our defence cooperation is closely coordinated with our Nordic neighbours and our close partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
Our countries’ northernmost regions are more sparsely populated than other areas, and their climate and geography present particular challenges. At the same time, there is great potential for deeper cooperation in these areas, given their location and unique conditions for collaboration on the green transition, space and the extraction of rare earth metals. At today’s meeting, we discussed how we can work for joint solutions, both civil and military, in light of the challenges and possibilities posed by our northernmost regions.