Important Steps Towards a Stronger Nordic Defence Corporation During the Danish Chairmanship
(Source: Nordic Defence Cooperation; issued Nov 06, 2020)
The defence ministers from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden and the minister for foreign affairs of Iceland met to discuss the situation in the Arctic, the Nordic defence cooperation and to sign agreements concerning security of supply and export control.
The Nordic defence cooperation, NORDEFCO, has been further strengthened during the Danish chairmanship in 2020.
As a clear indication the NORDEFCO crisis consultation mechanism which allows the ministers to quickly communicate on a secure digital platform, has been activated numerous times during the Danish chairmanship e.g. in regards to the COVID-19 crisis and the missile attack on Al-Asad base in January.
Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen states: The missile attack on Al-Asad base in January and the current corona-situation have led to a much closer cooperation. All in less than a year. The Nordic defence cooperation, however, focuses on much more than crisis and conflict. We also work closely together on issues such as green defence, cyber security and the Arctic.
Particularly the security development in the Arctic formed the main theme during the meeting.
The ministers also signed two agreements on security of supply and export control. Particularly the COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for at strengthened cooperation on supply security between the Nordic countries.
Nordic-Baltic and Northern Group Defence Ministers Focussed on Regional Security
(Source: Lithuania Ministry of Defence; issued Nov 05, 2020)
“We are a unified operational space so we have to see the security of the region as undivided. What is happening in the North inevitably influences security of the Baltic states, and the other way round. We view the presence and active involvement of the U.S. in our region as a critical element of deterrence and defence,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said at the video teleconference meeting of the Nordic-Baltic and Northern Group Defence Ministers on November 5.
The meetings focused primarily on the security situation and challenges in the region, including the hostility from Russia and developments in Belarus. “The recent exercises, such as Slavianskoje Bratstvo and Kavkaz 2020 have demonstrated the integration of and coordination between Russian and Belarusian militaries. The drills have also confirmed that Russia openly disregards requirements of the Vienna Document. This situation proves yet again that our aspirations and work need to continue. That encompasses both, strengthening of national armed forces and mutual coordination in NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force formats, also, making use of the response instruments, such as the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion, we already have,” Minister of National Defence R. Karoblis stressed.
The Minister also presented to his counterparts Lithuania’s proposal to host the European Cybersecurity Network and a Competence Centre in Vilnius. He pointed out the potential benefit to other neighbours in the region thus encouraging Baltic and Nordic countries to support Lithuania’s application to the European institutions.
According to Minister Raimundas Karoblis, it is logical to nominate Lithuania bearing in mind the progress the country has made over the recent years in cybersecurity, and the input in developing international cybersecurity projects. The European Cybersecurity Competence Centre would become the principal instrument of the European Union to promote European cybersecurity initiatives and develop cybersecurity research and technology. Negotiations on the regulation of establishment are still in progress at the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, the new EU body is expected to become operational next year.
Ministers also discussed the NATO Mission Iraq (NMI). The mission assists with training Iraqi security institutions critical for stabilising the country and fighting terrorist groups and ISIS. Extension of Lithuania’s mandate in NMI, a potential contribution in composition of the Danish Contingent, is currently tabled for the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
Defence Ministers also discussed the importance of U.S. involvement in the Nordic-Baltic region, focussed heavily on the emerging technologies (5G, AI, digitalisation, critical infrastructure security) and development of common action and initiatives in the area.
The Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) is an informal format of cooperation of five Nordic and three Baltic countries.
The Northern Group (NG) is a format established in 2012 and led by the United Kingdom, it includes 12 countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (the Baltic states), an Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland Denmark (the Nordic countries), and Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom.