Heightened tension puts Nordic Region on NATO radar

03.11.21 | News
Jens Stoltenberg och Bertel Haarder
Photographer
Magnus Fröderberg
The Nordic Region is strategically important for NATO, said the Secretary General of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, when speaking at the Session of the Nordic Council on Wednesday. President Bertel Haarder called the visit historic: “This is the first time ever that the chief of NATO has addressed Nordic parliamentarians.”

“The Nordic Region is important to NATO in part because the countries are members and close partners, but also because the region borders the Baltic, which has been subject to increasing tension and rearmament in recent years,” says Secretary General Stoltenberg.

“We’ve seen significant Russian military rearmament in the Baltic, with the deployment of new modern weapon systems,” explains Stoltenberg. He added that Russia has deployed new submarines and missile systems in the Arctic and is conducting more exercises in the area than it has for many years.

“The Nordic Region is also crucial for the North Atlantic link, protecting the ties between North America and Europe during times of crisis or conflict. This all makes the Nordic Region important to NATO.”

We’ve seen significant Russian military rearmament in the Baltic, with the deployment of new modern weapon systems

Jens Stoltenberg

NATO’s door remains open to Finland and Sweden

During the plenary discussion, Stoltenberg reaffirmed that NATO’s door remains open to Finland and Sweden, but that he will not be giving the Finnish or Swedish prime ministers any good advice regarding membership. Nevertheless, Secretary General Stoltenberg is positive about closer Nordic co-operation on defence, and notes that co-operation between the Nordic countries helps to strengthen relations between NATO and the alliance’s close partners.

He comments on the results of a recent opinion poll, which suggests that a growing number of those living in the Nordic Region want to see closer co-operation on defence in the region.

“This is excellent. As small nations, it’s important that we work together to make even better use of our military capabilities. By conducting cross-border exercises, we can train in areas that exist almost nowhere else in Europe,” he says.

Norden som region är strategiskt viktig för NATO, menar militäralliansens generalsekreterare Jens Stoltenberg, som just besökt Nordisk Råds session 2021.