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The Baltic States
The defence and security policy relationship with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is well-established. In light of the deterioration of the security situation in the Baltic Sea region, it is important to maintain and develop military exercises exchanges, and to maintain close defence and security policy dialogue at various levels. Sweden is participating with personnel and teachers at the Baltic Defence College in Estonia. There are Swedish personnel at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, and the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency is a member of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga.
The Swedish Armed Forces frequently participates in exercises together with the Baltic States, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
The defence cooperation with Finland is Sweden’s most far-reaching and has a special position in this respect. Since 2015, the cooperation has deepened significantly. The Government has steered the development of the cooperation in a number of areas, such as bilateral operational planning, exercise cooperation, combined units, establishment of secure communication, mutual use of military infrastructure, defence equipment cooperation, exchange of personnel, etc.
The cooperation covers a large number of activities that are conducted on a regular basis in all branches of the armed forces, not least within the framework of national and international exercises. The joint operational planning is aimed at being able to share military resources in various scenarios, should this be decided. In accordance with the memorandum of understanding that was entered into in 2018, the cooperation covers activities in times of peace, crisis and war. One central objective of the cooperation is to enable joint military operational action. By creating the freedom to take joint action, the threshold for incidents and conflicts is raised in the Baltic Sea region.
Defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden
Sweden has well-established cooperation with France in the area of defence. This cooperation focuses on international operations in primarily Africa, exercises and cooperation in the defence materiel area.
Germany and Sweden have a long tradition of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. In June 2017, Sweden’s and Germany’s defence ministers signed a joint letter of intent to deepen and increase cooperation between the Swedish and German armed forces and other defence agencies through the development of the current cooperation and the promotion of new initiatives.
The United Kingdom
Sweden’s cooperation with the UK is of particular importance to security in the Baltic Sea region. Sweden and the UK have significant defence equipment cooperation and, in 2019, the countries signed a memorandum of understanding on Future Combat Air Systems Cooperation (FCASC). Exercises and training as well as research and development are other areas in which there is close cooperation. Bilateral agreements between the UK and Sweden are not affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Sweden has a long-term interest in continued close cooperation between the EU and the UK in the area of security and defence policy, regardless of whether the UK is a member of the EU or not. Swedish-British cooperation should also be seen as an important support function in the transatlantic link.
The United States
The bilateral cooperation with the United States is of major significance to Sweden. Sweden and the United States have a shared interest in improving their capabilities to act together in a crisis situation. The bilateral Statement of Intent signed by Sweden and the United States in 2016 contains five key areas for cooperation: interoperability; training and exercises; armament cooperation; research and development; and multinational operations.
In 2018, a Trilateral Statement of Intent was signed by Finland, Sweden and the United States on deepened defence cooperation that aims to complement bilateral cooperation and create synergies between these.