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Scandinavia and ESDP

Are the Nordic States Holding Back?


Strategische Analysen


November 2005


Sektionschef i.R. Hon.Prof. DDr. Erich Reiter

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18 Seiten (179 KB)



The purpose of this paper is to analyse the approaches of the various Nordic states to the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), and also to show how they have implemented them in their policies and actions.

Of the Nordic states only Finland and Sweden actively participate in the European Security and Defence Policy. Norway is not a member of the European Union, and Denmark is exempted from all military cooperation within the framework of the Union. Both states, however, are members of NATO.
Finland and Sweden had been defining themselves as "neutral” in one way or another until the collapse of the Soviet Union in Central and Eastern Europe. After that both states, including Austria, applied for EU-membership, started to define their status as being non-aligned, and did not apply for becoming NATO members - contrary to the Central European and Baltic states.

Along with the accession of the "ex-neutrals” to the Union, questions about security and defence policy increasingly appeared in the Union’s agenda. As ex-neutrals Sweden and Finland neither are in favour of any European defence system or mutual defence guarantees nor do they want the EU to become too "military”. But at the same time leading Finnish and Swedish politicians have repeatedly stressed a moral obligation to defend other EU states if they were attacked.

Both states are experienced participants of U.N. peacekeeping missions as "blue-helmets” and have been enthusiastic about it. Over the years, many thousand officers and soldiers have served under UN flag. Therefore, participation in European peace-keeping - if endorsed by the UN - is no big deal for Finland and Sweden, both under EU or NATO command. Neither is participation in various civil protection and aid activities.

Both states have offered their participation in the EU’s army corps (Headline Goal 1999) and setting up a common battlegroup together with Norway according to the Headline Goal 2010, which is expected to be operable by 2007.

After the tsunami disaster in December 2004 plans have been made in Sweden to set up civil rescue teams that will be able to operate all over the world at very short notice to help Swedes who have been hit by a catastrophe.

Eigentümer und Herausgeber: Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung | Roßauer Lände 1, 1090 Wien
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