Stronger Finnish-Swedish military cooperation

Swedish and finnish ministers of defense Karin Enström and Carl Haglund have agreed to develop military cooperation. (Photo:

Finland and Sweden are looking into ways of enhancing military cooperation. The two countries on Tuesday agreed to conduct a study by October to find ways of pooling defense resources.


Finland’s Minister of Defense Carl Haglund and his Swedish counterpart Karin Enström on Tuesday agreed on a framework for the development of the two countries’ defense cooperation.

The action plan includes nine areas where the defense powers should come up with suggestions on who to develop cooperation.  They range from logistics and materials management to how the navy, air force and armies can have more joint exercises.

The plan will also assess the feasibility of establishing joint air and naval units. Such units would effectively enable Finland and Sweden to send troops with similar capabilities to participate in the crisis management operations of the European Union, the United Nations and NATO.

“The primary idea is to work together in crisis management operations, but the joint units would also provide the preconditions for joint action – upon our own, independent decisions – with respect to nearby crises,” Haglund said according to Helsinki Times.

Among the more concrete issues under consideration is the coordinated acquisition of naval vessels. “Both [countries] must within ten years renew their vessels. We have similar conditions and coastlines, and so the requirements for the vessels would be the same.” Despite having the same class notation, the vessels would not be in joint ownership, however.

A strong political message
Although the emphasis of the proposed co-operation would be on peacetime operations, a closer defence co-operation would also be a strong political message, Haglund pointed out.

“The fact that we establish joint units and allow one another to use our airbases and ports conveys a strong message of our willingness to work together. Everyone will surely recognize that we have the preconditions to support one another in the face of crises. The threshold to support one another is low,” he explained.

Finland and Sweden are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance, though they joined the European Union in 1995. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer border with Russia – more than the other 27 EU members combined – and fought two wars against the Soviet Union during World War II. Popular opposition has stopped the two countries from joining NATO.

The defense forces are to present their interim reports on the cooperation in October and conclusions in January.

In April defense ministers from all five Nordic countries met in Tromsl, Norway to discuss the situation in Ukraine, as BarentsObserver reported.