When Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist hosted his first official meeting with Finland’s Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen, continued deepening of Finnish-Swedish bilateral defence cooperation and the security situation in the Baltic Sea region were on the agenda.
The meeting at Karlberg Palace was the first official meeting between the two defence ministers. Deepened defence cooperation with Finland continues to hold a special position in Swedish defence and security policy. An important starting point in this cooperation is that Sweden and Finland have a shared interest in promoting stability and predictability in this part of Europe. Developing military capability to act together reduces the risk of military incidences.
“Sweden’s defence cooperation with Finland is far-reaching and a top priority. It is of major importance to security in the Baltic Sea region. By deepening our cooperation we create a common understanding and ability to manage the security situation in our neighbourhood. This is a clear contribution to our cooperation with other close partner countries in the region and in our transatlantic relations,” says Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist.
Sweden and Finland’s bilateral defence cooperation has been systematically deepened over the years and will be further enhanced. It includes very far-reaching and extensive cooperation on joint exercises and joint operational planning. An important goal of defence cooperation is to ensure that Sweden and Finland are able to respond to situations across a range of scenarios and levels of conflict, including crisis and war.
The Swedish Ministry of Defence is also drafting a legislative proposal on more rapid decision-making procedures for giving and receiving operational military support within the framework of Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation.
Finland’s Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen stressed the importance of deepening cooperation in all areas mentioned in the Finnish-Swedish memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation, signed in July last year. The MoU aims to create continuity, predictability and sustainability in defence cooperation between Sweden and Finland.
Finland’s Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen took office on 6 June 2019. He represents the Centre Party of Finland and has served as Chair of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of the Centre Party Parliamentary Group.