Nordic partnership choices in a fierier security environment: Towards more alignment

Policy brief

Nordic states’ partnership choices in security and defence are more aligned than they were a decade ago. When Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish government officials now identify key security challenges and partners, and reflect on the potential for Nordic cooperation, they have the same reference points and use similar wording. Since 2014, the toolbox for Nordic defence cooperation has also solidified and different formal affiliations with NATO and the EU seem to matter less than before. Furthermore, an array of multi- and minilateral cooperation structures have emerged across and beyond the EU and NATO, expanding the possibilities for Nordic cooperation under a larger Euro-Atlantic umbrella. However, two limitations remain: First, Nordic security and defence cooperation still remains subordinate to and a supplement rather than an alternative to NATO. Second, putting Nordic response mechanisms into practice remains dependent not only on the context and issue at stake, but also on the political appetite of the individual Nordic governments to choose a Nordic solution.