United Kingdom signs a defense agreement with Sweden and Finland

For the Scandinavian countries, the defense and mutual protection pact sends a signal to Moscow before a candidacy for NATO membership. For its part, London thus recalls its role in European defense.

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While Sweden and Finland should formalize their request for NATO membership in the coming days, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Harpsund – the Prime Minister’s summer residence Swedish, west of Stockholm – and Helsinki, Wednesday, May 11, to sign a defense and mutual protection agreement with the two Nordic countries. An initiative seen as insurance by Sweden and Finland, worried about the reactions of Russia, and which allows Boris Johnson to recall that his country has a major role to play in European defense.

“If one or the other of the countries is struck by a disaster or victim of an attack, we will be there and we will help each other, including with military assistance,” said the British Prime Minister in Helsinki . A little earlier in Stockholm, he had specified that the agreement would allow “to share information, to carry out even more joint military exercises and to deepen our common developments in technology”.

Boris Johnson has excluded either the sending of British troops, or even the assistance of nuclear deterrence. “We are used to not commenting on this subject [nuclear deterrence], but it is up to each of the two partners to make their request [help] and we take [this commitment to help] very seriously” , he stressed during the press conference with the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. London also proposed to deploy staff from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and the British Army in the north of Europe.

a delicate intermediate period

 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Finnish President Sali Niinisto at the presidential palace of Helsinski, May 11, 2022. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Finnish President Sali Niinisto at the Helsinski presidential palace, May 11, 2022. Frank Augstein/AFP

This agreement then comes even as the two countries Nordic, members of the European Union (EU), prepare their request for membership in NATO. But before Sweden and Finland could integrate the Transatlantic Alliance, it will first be necessary that its thirty member states give their green light, which could take “between four months and a year,” warned Finnish Minister of Business foreign, Pekka Haavisto.

The two Nordic neighbors will then find themselves in a delicate situation. “During this intermediary period, the country which waged a merciless war, an vile war against Ukraine, knows that we have made our choice, but we will not be covered by the security guarantee provided for in article 5 of the treaty NATO, “said the Tytti TupPurainen world, the Finnish Minister for European Affairs, who wants the process to be” as fast as possible “.

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/Media reports.