Nordic-Baltic cooperation now deeper than ever before in modern times - Swedish PM

  • 2024-05-13

STOCKHOLM – Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said Monday that the Nordic and Baltic cooperation is now "deeper than at any time in modern times," underpinned by increasing security threats from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Kristersson is hosting a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and the Nordic prime ministers in Stockholm. At the same time, the three Baltic prime ministers meet in Vilnius.

"We have long appreciated our neighbors, but at the same time underestimated the importance of concrete, operational cooperation," Kristersson wrote in an op-ed in Swedish business paper Dagens Industri.

"If you want to cooperate well, you have to meet, get to know each other and seek broader common alliances -- in both NATO and the EU," Kristersson wrote.

Sweden joined the military alliance in March while Finland joined in April 2023. NATO's expansion was a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a historic realignment of Europe's post-Cold War security landscape triggered by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The Baltic Sea is now almost surrounded by NATO countries, strengthening the alliance in the strategically important region. It includes maritime access to the Russian city of St. Petersburg and the Kaliningrad enclave.

The Swedish government leader said that in the past weeks he had held a series of meetings with his regional counterparts and "discussed issues that are important to both them and Sweden: defense, forestry, the climate, migration, crime and the security threats from Russia."

Kristersson said that security policy and NATO's upcoming summit in July in Washington will top the agenda for the meeting with Scholz and the prime ministers from Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

In Vilnius, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte received Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina for a meeting of the Baltic Council of Ministers.