On Wednesday, 23 November in Oslo, Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur attended the meeting of Ministers of Defence of the Northern Group, where the protection of critical infrastructure, regional security, the defence of Northern Europe in light of the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, and continued support for Ukraine were discussed.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO opens up a significantly greater opportunity for us to cooperate on the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. Among other things, it allows for an increase in both situational awareness and practical cooperation for the protection of critical energy connections in the Gulf of Finland,” said Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur.
The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO has been approved by all members of the Northern Group who are members of the Alliance.
“We certainly look forward to and welcome Finland and Sweden joining the Alliance. Although this does not resolve all of the security concerns of the Baltic States, it is a very important step towards strengthening the defence of the region. The membership of Finland and Sweden creates an opportunity to essentially transform the Baltic Sea into an internal NATO sea,” Pevkur explained.
The Northern Group is a defence cooperation format covering 12 Baltic and North Sea countries, consisting of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.
“The Northern Group is an important forum where we can focus on issues related to the Baltic and North Sea region and discuss the security of the region with our closest neighbours and allies. I was pleased to see that the political unity in this group is very strong,” said the Minister of Defence.
This time the meeting took place on the UK aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which arrived in Oslo.
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Photo: Thomas Haraldsen, Norwegian Defence Forces Communications/Forsvaret Communiqué