Sweden and European defence cooperation: interests in search of a strategy
Swedish Institute of International Affair
UI Brief No.010 / 2018
Dec. 12, 2018
Sweden’s relationship with European defence cooperation has long been defined by ambiguity and complexity, and its positions on the most recent initiatives, such as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the European Intervention Initiative (E2I), are no exceptions.

Strong cultural, historical and industrial reasons explain Swedish particularities, but there is reason to believe that Sweden’s position may change in the near future. The looming exit of the United Kingdom from the EU has deprived Sweden of a steadfast and equally cautious ally in this area, while geopolitical turbulence in Europe and beyond has altered the Swedish strategic outlook. While a certain principled scepticism is still apparent, the long-term trend seems to suggest a “normalization” of Sweden’s relation to the policy field of European security and defence.

This policy brief outlines Sweden’s cautious rapprochement with the policy area and explains why its position may change.


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