Finland’s defence minister, Jyri Hakamies and Sweden’s defence minister, Sten Tolgfors published a column which was printed in a Finnish and Swedish newspaper in which they discussed the need for both countries to cooperate more strongly in the area of defence and security. The column was published by Helsingin Sanomat in Finland and Dagens Nyheter in Sweden on Monday.
In the article, the ministers wrote: “There are a number of possibilities to use our resources more efficiently and to strengthen military capability.”
“These pertain equally to training, exercises and procurement. Cooperation gives us a greater range of action both in our region and farther afield.”
Regional cooperation, the ministers argued, was particularly important in an era when Russia’s foreign policy has a tougher tone than it used to. In addition, the ministers agreed that new challengers were presented to the Nordic nations by the growth of oil and gas shipments across the Baltic Sea.
Finland and Russia share a border. Sweden has a geographical and economic interest in the Baltic Sea area which touches both countries.
The defence ministers said they are studying how better to cooperate in terms of military exercises, training and the procurement of equipment.
“It is critical that the Nordic countries do not continue to have different specifications for defence assets,” the ministers said.
“In the long term, we wish to achieve a situation where one country can send personnel, and another material in a common contribution to a specific mission.”