Nordic-Baltic Defense Chiefs Meet as Direct Defense Returns to Europe


2015-02-10 The annual Nordic-Baltic Chief of defence meeting was conducted in Norway 29th and 30th January this year.

The purpose of this annual meeting is to discuss regional challenges and to identify common opportunities.

Topics beeing discussed are military developments concerning equipment, training, exercises and operations. Among this years topics discussions have focused on Nordic-Baltic capacity package, cyber defence and improved surveillance.

The annual Nordic-Baltic meeting is a regional cooperation mechanism on military affairs.

This functioning and constructive Nordic-Baltic defence cooperation has been ongoing since the BALTSEA (Baltic Security Assistance Forum) was established in 1997.

On the picture from left: Gen. Jarmo Lindberg (FIN CHOD), MajGen. Jonas Vytautas Žukas (LIT CHOD), Gen. Sverker Göranson (SWE CHOD), Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen (NOR CHOD), LtGen. Raimonds Graube (LAT CHOD), Gen. Peter Bartram (DEN CHOD), MajGen. Riho Terras (EST CHOD)
On the picture from left: Gen. Jarmo Lindberg (FIN CHOD), MajGen. Jonas Vytautas Žukas (LIT CHOD), Gen. Sverker Göranson (SWE CHOD), Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen (NOR CHOD), LtGen. Raimonds Graube (LAT CHOD), Gen. Peter Bartram (DEN CHOD), MajGen. Riho Terras (EST CHOD)

And a Lithuanian perspective on the meeting:

On 29-30 January, Chief of Defence of Lithuania Major General Jonas Vytautas Žukas is attending the annual Nordic-Baltic Chiefs of Defence meeting in Kongsvinger, Norway, Lithuania’s Armed Forces said.

The Nordic-Baltic chiefs of defence will be discussing security and defence situation in the region, implementation of the NATO Readiness Action Plan, future combined military exercises, perspectives of cooperation in cyber defence, air space surveillance, capacity building, and other areas.

Chiefs of Defence meet in Nordic-Baltic format once per year in a different country. Last year the meeting took place in Latvia, Malpils.

Lithuania launched defence cooperation with Nordic countries in 1994 by signing the first military cooperation agreement with Denmark which was already a NATO ally at that time.

When the Lithuanian Armed Forces were re-established, Scandinavian countries assisted Lithuania in modernising weaponry and training soldiers and military units, a considerable number of Lithuanian military graduated from various long-term qualification improvement courses in Scandinavian countries, the Iron Wolf Brigade has been assigned to the Danish Division and taking part in joint training events since 2006.

The Nordic countries are also supporting various trilateral Baltic military cooperation projects. Norway and Denmark deployed capabilities to the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission, roughly 40 Lithuanian soldiers are on standby with the Swedish-led European Union Nordic Battle Group (NBG) this year.

And this year Finland joined the meeting.

The Commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, General Lindberg, will take part in the meeting of Nordic and Baltic chiefs of defence in Oslo, Norway, on 29 January 2015.

The meeting is held annually with the chairmanship rotating between participating nations. The agenda is put together collectively by all participating nations.

In addition to the commander of the Finnish Defence Forces, Finland will be represented by the Defence Command Chief of Planning, Brigadier General Eero Pyötsiä, the head of Defence Command Finland’s NORDEFCO Office, Lieutenant Colonel Timo Ristimäki, and General Lindberg’s ADC, Lieutenant Colonel Teemu Nurmela.

And here is a perspective on the Swedish contribution as seen from Estonia in an article published on January 21, 2015:

On Tuesday, the Speaker of the Estonian Riigikogu Eiki Nestor met with the Speaker of the Swedish parliament Riksdag Urban Ahlin, who is on an official visit to Estonia, Riigikogu press department reports LETA. 

Regional cooperation between the countries in the Nordic-Baltic format (NB8), security cooperation issues and activities with the EU Eastern Partnership countries were discussed at the meeting.

“The growth of military aggressiveness in the East and in the South, and the security situation that has changed by today force to develop defence cooperation between democratic states in bilateral, regional and also NATO framework more intensively than before,” Eiki Nestor said in conclusion of the meeting.

Nestor and Ahlin agreed that parliamentary cooperation and joint activities in the NB8 framework have been successful, and focusing on Eastern Partnership is important and consistent both in Estonia and in Sweden. Estonia highly values the development of defence cooperation between Sweden and NATO. In 2015 Sweden holds the presidency of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO).

Swedish economic and defence policy, Estonian education system and the common European currency were also spoken about at the meeting.

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa and the Chairman of the Estonia-Sweden Parliamentary Group of the Riigikogu Valdo Randpere also took part in the meeting. The Vice-President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson, the Chairman of the Rural Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Kalvi Kõva, the Chairman of the Environment Committee of the Riigikogu Rainer Vakra, the Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu Rait Maruste and members of the Riigikogu Remo Holsmer, Barbi Pilvre and Kadri Simson will also meet with the Speaker of the Swedish parliament on Tuesday and on Wednesday.

On Tuesday morning, Urban Ahlin met with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, and he will also have meetings with Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas and the Minister of Defence Sven Mikser. The Defence Forces will show the Swedish Speaker around in Ämari Air Base.

After assuming office last spring, Eiki Nestor made his first official visit to Sweden.