The seminar was organised as part of a joint effort between NUPI, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI). The goal of this partnership is to foster a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the transatlantic relationship and how they will impact the US, UK and Norwegian security in particular. In addition to scholars from the three institutions, the participants came from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and representatives from the Norwegian defence and foreign ministries.
The seminar discuss ed Europe’s fundamental challenges. Today, Europe is at war, Russia is seen as the most direct threat, China has become a significant systemic challenge, while terrorism remains an asymmetric threat. We cannot at this stage predict the outcome of the war in Ukraine. Who will have the longest endurance – Russia, Ukraine or the West? Where does Russia go from here? Will it move further in a totalitarian direction? Could we witness a system collapse? Could it pass the threshold and use nuclear weapons?
Finnish and Swedish membership in NATO will have a major impact on the strategic balance in a major part of Europe. They are very well prepared to join the alliance, but the strategic culture of the two countries will have to change, and a number of operational issues must be solved. What will be the future of Nordic cooperation and the NORDEFCO agenda? Could we see the development of three subregional cooperative frameworks: the High North, the Central part of the Baltic Sea and the Baltic approaches with the straits? Is there a risk that the new members will be linked to another regional headquarters than Norway, which might complicate Nordic cooperation? What are the priorities of Britain and the United States in Northern Europe, and how does that fit into their broader strategic priorities, in Europe and beyond?