Crimea crises changes Nordic defense perspective

Discussing joint cooperation in Tromsø. From the left: Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Iceland; Karin Enström, Sweden; Carl Haglund, Finland; Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norway and Nicolai Wammen, Denmark.

Security situation in Europe was highlighted when the Defense Ministers from five Nordic countries met in Tromsø to discuss strengthening their joint military cooperation.


Norway, Iceland and Denmark are the only of the Nordic countries that are members of NATO, but all five countries have strongly condemned Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and violations of international law.

“We discussed how the situation in Ukraine affects security in Europe, the Nordic countries are united condemning Russian action and violation of international law,” says Norway’s Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, in a press-release.

Sweden and Finland are NATO partners, and all the five Nordic countries have called off their military cooperation with Russia, due to the Crimean crisis. The roadmap towards NATO’s upcoming top-meeting in September was main issue on the agenda among the Defense Ministers in Tromsø.

“The recent events highlight the need for further development of NATO’s partnership cooperation. Joint training and exercises are important. Norway, Sweden and Finland have for example joint training with fighter jets across the borders, something that gives good outcome. We are now looking at opportunities to expand this training cooperation and have invited more countries to join,” says Ine Eriksen Søreide.

Sweden’s Minister of Defense, Karin Enström, agrees. 

“It is useful to meet my Nordic colleagues and discuss the development of Nordic defense cooperation. It also the opportunity to discuss current events in the world to form a common view, especially now regarding the development in Ukraine and Russia,” says Karin Enström in a press-release posted on the Swedish Defense Ministry’s portal.

NORDEFCO, the political and military cooperation between the Nordic countries was initiated in 2009 when three former military cooperation structures were merged with the aim at facilitate efficient common solutions.

Cooperation is not new to the Nordic countries, who apart from sharing similar history, language and culture, also have a intra-nordic record in the political and military areas.