Nordic Defense Ministers: Will Increase Future Military Presence in the Nordic Countries

Nordic defense cooperation is to be further strengthened, the Nordic defense ministers announce in a new joint statement. Pictured here at the previous Nordic defense minister meeting in Finnmark, Norway on 11 may 2022. From the left: Peter Hultqvist (Sweden), Bjørn Arild Gram (Norway), Morten Bødskov (Denmark), Antti Kaikkonen (Finland) and State Secretary Marie Kallestad Lamo (Iceland). (Photo: Asgeir Spange Brekke/Norwegian MoD)    

In the coming months, the Nordic countries will strengthen their military presence in the region through joint exercises, training and visits, the Nordic defense ministers state in a new joint statement.

On Tuesday, the Nordic defense ministers and representatives met on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Gulf of Bothnia to discuss the security situation in the Nordics.

“Denmark, Iceland and Norway welcome Finland and Sweden into the Alliance and will work for fast national ratification processes” [of their NATO membership applications, journ.note] the defense ministers say in a joint statement after the meeting.

They also point out that Finland and Sweden’s joining of NATO “will improve our collective defence, enhance security and stability, and strengthen the alliance in Northern Europe. We will continue the political and military dialogue that is already well underway.”

Will secure Finland and Sweden

Last Thursday, Finland and Sweden received an assurance of security for the application period from the prime ministers of Denmark, Iceland and Norway. The three countries will specifically assist the Finns and Swedes with all necessary means if they were to be exposed to aggression prior to achieving NATO membership.

Following on from this, the defense ministers say that they want to increase Nordic defense cooperation in the coming months.

“Nordic military presence in our region will be enhanced through joint exercises, training and visits. These assurance activities underline our well-founded ability to operate together.”

Continue building on NORDEFCO

In a recent NUPI policy brief, researchers point out that Nordic military cooperation within the NORDEFCO framework probably will be strengthened if Finland and Sweden join NATO.

The defense ministers’ statement repeatedly reiterates that this format is still considered relevant.

“As we enter a new era of deeper defence relations, we, the Nordic Defence Ministers, remain committed to the Nordic defence cooperation (NORDEFCO)”, they say and continue:

“We share common interests concerning the complex and demanding security challenges in our region, including the Baltic Sea and the High North. These regions constitute a single area of operations and coordinated or joint operational planning among the Nordic countries is therefore key.”

The defense ministers also say that they have asked their respective ministries to adapt NORDEFCO in light of the developments in Finland and Sweden.

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This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.