“Simplified movement of military forces among the Nordic and the Baltic region countries may become reality as soon as this year,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis says after the Northern Group Defence Ministers meeting on Wednesday in the Hague (the Netherlands) where facilitation of solutions to better military mobility in the Northern Group countries’ territory was addressed.
Ministers agreed to formed a so-called Northern group space where movement of military forces of the respective countries would be simplified. The Memorandum of Understanding on simplified military transit is expected be signed at the next Northern Group Defence Ministers meeting in the autumn.
All of the Northern Group countries represented at the meeting (the lead country United Kingdom, the three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia, as Estonia, for Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark, and Poland, the Netherlands, and Germany) agreed to the initiative.
“Ensuring military mobility is one of the key challenges as part of security and deterrence along the eastern Alliance’s border, therefore those countries who sense the threats most acutely take the role of leadership,” R. Karoblis said. According to him, it was probable that the initiative would speed up approval of military mobility agreements in the Alliance – military mobility is high on the upcoming NATO Defence Ministers meeting agenda.
According to Minister, the Baltic states have already achieved good results in simplifying the procedures for issuing permits. “That could serve as an example for the Northern Group format,” R. Karoblis said. He also underscored that improvement of military mobility first means improvement of infrastructure and particularly – simplification of the procedural part.
Ministers also discussed the security situation in the Baltic Sea and the North Atlantic region and further interaction with Russia. Ministers agreed on the necessity to strengthen strategic communication to counterbalance the intense propaganda from the Kremlin. “However, our strongest strategic communication efforts should be used for increasing resilience and citizenship,” R. Karoblis stressed.
Ministers also agreed to cooperate more closely on information exchange on ongoing exercises. According to Minister R. Karoblis, exercises are an important element of NATO readiness to respond to threats, therefore member states should maintain their scope and intensity.
After the meeting in the Hague Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis will take part in the NATO Defence Ministers Meeting in Brussels on June 7-8.