Swedish–Finnish naval cooperation in the Baltic Sea: motives, prospects and challenges

Stefan Lundqvist, J J Widen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Recently, Finland and Sweden decided to substantially deepen their defence cooperation and this project  involves creating a bilateral standing Naval Task Group (SFNTG). The present article aims at examining the deepening naval cooperation between Finland and Sweden from a regional integration perspective, focusing on its motives, current challenges and future prospects. Driven by perceptions of common challenges and desires for cost-effectiveness, and strengthened by recent successes on sea surveillance and a combined Amphibious Task Unit, the bilateral project has considerable potential to achieve success. To fulfil its objectives, substantial legal changes in both countries are required to allow the use of force on each other’s territorial waters. To cater for the requirement of not conflicting with EU, NORDEFCO or NATO cooperation, the bilateral Task Group must operate according to NATO standards and by using English as the language in command and control. The costs of adjusting the naval units to NATO’s technical requirements are far from negligible and this issue still remains to be solved. If Finland and Sweden manage to incorporate new policies, common structures and common organisational norms among their navies, an even deeper integration, as in Belgium and the Netherlands, are conceivable.

    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)346–373
    JournalDefence Studies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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