Swedish premier hosts Summit with German and Nordic heads of government to address Russia’s threats

Statsministeriet @Statsmin
From left to right: prime ministers Bjarni Benediktsson of Iceland, Petteri Orpo of Finland, Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. 

The Nordic Summit was hosted by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on May 13 in Stockholm as Sweden is currently holding the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2024. The Summit was attended by the Nordic prime ministers Petteri Orpo of Finland, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark, Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway, and Bjarni Benediktsson of Iceland, along with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz. 

The Swedish Prime Minister stated that the Nordic and Baltic cooperation is currently deeper than at any other time in modern history, as security threats from Russia continue to increase following its invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, the three Baltic prime ministers who met in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius on Monday stated that Moscow’s intimidation will not deter them from supporting Ukraine.

“We have always valued our neighbours, but at the same time, we have failed to appreciate the significance of practical, collaborative efforts,” wrote Kristersson in an op-ed featured in the Swedish business paper, Dagens Industri. “If we aim to cooperate effectively, it is crucial to meet, familiarise ourselves with one another, and pursue wider common alliances, both within NATO and the EU,” wrote Kristersson.

The strategic importance of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, which they joined in March and April 2023, respectively, cannot be overstated. This expansion dealt a significant blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin and triggered a historic realignment of Europe’s post-Cold War security landscape following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. With the addition of these countries, nearly all sides of the Baltic Sea are now surrounded by NATO nations, a development that significantly bolsters the alliance’s presence in this strategically important region. The region also provides maritime access to the Russian city of St. Petersburg and the Kaliningrad enclave. 

The Swedish government leader recently met with his regional counterparts to discuss defence, forestry, climate, migration, crime, and security threats from Russia. 

The upcoming NATO summit in July will be a top priority for the meeting between the Swedish Prime Minister and the leaders of Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, with discussions likely to focus on security policy, instilling confidence in Europe’s security landscape.

Increasing competitiveness and security

During the Summit, the heads of government from Nordic countries signed a joint declaration, a testament to their unwavering commitment, focusing on the future of Nordic competitiveness, growth, and security. The Nordic prime ministers had set a goal in 2019 to make the Nordic region the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030, a vision that continues to drive their collective efforts and inspire optimism about the region’s future.

“Making it easier for companies and people to operate across national borders is crucial to boosting Nordic competitiveness and growth. Sweden therefore needs to focus on an integrated Nordic region without border barriers. Basically, it should be easy to live, study, work and run companies throughout the Nordic region and across its borders,” said PM Kristersson. 

The declaration makes it clear that Norway and Iceland, along with the EU, are part of the single market under the EEA Agreement. Additionally, it emphasises the EU’s ongoing work towards competitiveness, while highlighting the importance of the Nordic region’s ability to compete globally. Sectors such as telecommunications are particularly important in light of geopolitical developments.

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