The defense and foreign ministers of Finland, Sweden, and Denmark have penned a joint op-ed hailing their new respective bilateral military cooperation agreements with the United States as a “historic step” demonstrating security consensus in northern Europe amid the Russian threat.
“That our three countries have now, over the course of 15 days, signed bilateral defense cooperation agreements with the USA is a natural continuation of this development and an important step in our purposeful adaptation to changed security policy conditions,” wrote the Nordic officials in GP.se.
The ministers said Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine represented a “breaking point” for European security that necessitated Finland and Sweden’s decision to pursue NATO membership.
“We stand for a long-term, clear-sighted, and realistic Russia policy, which is based on a credible deterrence and defense capability. We hope that Russia develops in a peaceful and democratic direction, but must assume – and prepare for – that the country will pose a threat to us for a long time to come,” they argued.
The officials contended the new defense pacts will facilitate early and effective US military assistance in a deteriorating situation, with an American presence acting as a deterrent.
“The agreements strengthen security for both our countries and the United States, and for our Nordic and Baltic neighboring countries. They are applicable bilaterally, but will also facilitate NATO’s defense planning and contribute to strengthening the alliance as a whole. This is of central importance to us,” the ministers wrote.
They said it was a strength that Denmark, Sweden, and Finland now have “effective and similar forms of cooperation with the USA bilaterally,” signaling consensus and bolstering regional security.
In December, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark signed a bilateral defense cooperation agreement (DCA) that will allow the US military to deploy its troops on their territory. Norway had not only signed its own DCA in 2021, but the following year supplemented the original agreement to strengthen it even further.