Security developments, strengthened defence posture and continued support for Ukraine were among the issues on the agenda in a recent two-day meeting of Nordic and Baltic defence ministers in Stockholm. The meeting began with the gathering of Nordic ministers of defence where they discussed the rapidly growing defence cooperation between the Nordic countries, which will be further strengthened with Finland’s membership and Sweden’s accession to NATO.
Significant steps have been taken to further strengthen the collaboration and cooperation between the Nordic countries through exercises and joint planning. Iceland takes an active part in this cooperation and has since late last year also taken part on the military side of the cooperation. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, who also acts as Minister for Defence, had a bilateral meeting with Pål Jonson, Minister of Defence of Sweden, who is chairing the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) this year with Denmark taking over the chairmanship next month.
"We welcome the rapidly increasing defence cooperation of the Nordic countries in recent years, we share both priorities and common interests in the region. Finland's membership and hopefully soon Sweden's, will strengthen the Alliance and increase the security of the inhabitants of the Nordic countries. In my meeting with Pål Jonson, I reiterated Iceland's unequivocal support for Sweden's accession, which I hope will become a reality very soon," says Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The Nordic and Baltic defence ministers had a joint meeting where they focused on security issues in Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea among other issues.
On the sidelines of the ministerial meetings, the Nordic ministers took part in a virtual meeting (VTC) of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group. The Minister for Foreign Affairs announced that a mobile field hospital had been delivered to Ukraine and that Iceland intends to participate in coalitions aimed at supporting Ukraine’s efforts on cyber security and demining.