Sat. Jun 25th, 2022

Published 

Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist took part in a defence ministers meeting on 22 February within the framework of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF). At the annual ministerial meeting, which was held in the United Kingdom, the attendes discussed the development of the security situation in Europe and upcoming JEF exercises, among other things.

The annual JEF ministerial meeting gathered defence ministers from the ten participating states for discussions that initially concerned the development of the security situation in Europe.

“Over time, we have seen a deterioration of the security situation in our neighbourhood. We stated that threats to the European security order are unacceptable,” says Mr Hultqvist.

Also discussed at the meeting were cooperation between the JEF and NATO and planning for the JEF’s operations over the next two years, including scenario-based discussions in which representatives of the JEF member states discussed how to handle various courses of events. The defence ministers also decided to implement joint JEF exercises over the coming months, against the backdrop of the development of the security situation.

“The JEF is a priority for Sweden. Like the other forms of international defence cooperation we participate in, it contributes to increasing Sweden’s national defence capabilities and its capability to take joint action in the event of a crisis,” says Mr Hultqvist.

The JEF is a framework for a rapid reaction force and is led by the UK. The JEF can act independently or within the framework of a UN, NATO or EU operation in the event of a crisis, and focuses on northern Europe. In addition to the UK and Sweden, the members of the JEF are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

 


Joint statement by Defence Ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force

Published 22 February 2022

Meeting in the UK, Defence Ministers from the ten Joint Expeditionary Force nations have issued a joint statement on the situation in Ukraine.

Today the ten Defence Ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) met at Belvoir Castle in England: the UK, together with Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

We reaffirm the importance of the JEF as a group of like-minded and proactive nations, with shared purpose and values, and a common focus on security and stability in the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea region. Ten nations that are stronger when working together, the JEF gives us the ability to act collectively in an agile and responsive way to meet the variety of security challenges we face, however they arise, in that part of Europe we call home. The JEF is designed from first principles to be complementary to NATO’s Deterrence and Defence posture.

Never has the JEF been more important and relevant than it is today. During the course of our meeting the Russian Federation has recognised Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions as independent states, breaching Minsk agreements and international law. All ten Defence Ministers are united in our condemnation of that unjustified act, the build-up of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine, and further incursion in the Donbas region.

We strongly support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and reiterate the right of all sovereign nations to choose their own path, their own security arrangements and their own alliances, free from external aggression and coercion, as a fundamental principle of the European security order. We call on Russia to de-escalate and encourage them to engage in transparent dialogue, including through the OSCE and the NATO-Russia Council, in order to reduce tensions. We also condemn the instrumentalization of migration flows and other hybrid activity towards Latvia, Lithuania and Poland by the Belarussian regime.

We have reviewed the progress we have made in the development of the JEF as an agile, capable, and ready force, and today agreed to undertake a series of integrated military activities across our part of northern Europe – at sea, on land and in the air. For example, we will shortly conduct an exercise demonstrating JEF nations’ freedom of movement in the Baltic Sea. These and subsequent activities will remain preventative and proportionate. In acting together, we shall demonstrate the JEF’s solidarity, capability, and resolve to stand together for security and stability in our region.

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