Prime Minister Jonas Kahr Store (Labor) warns that when Sweden and Finland become members of NATO, there will be extensive changes in the Norwegian armed forces.
Sweden and Finland knock on NATO’s door, while Turkey decides when the door will open.
NATO expansion will be one of the five key topics The NATO summit in Madrid begins on Tuesday.
The store travels there with Foreign Minister Anniken Hoodfeld (Labor) and Defense Minister Bjrn Arild Gram (Social Democrats).
At his half-yearly press conference on Friday, Store said he has spent a lot of time with Nordic colleagues in recent months.
But he also reaffirmed that negotiations on a joint security cooperation with Sweden and Finland in NATO could not begin until the sanctions on their members were resolved.
– Let us discuss what will happen now in the gray period. But one must be careful in initiating the discussion as other countries are members. It could make their case harder when they are now being evaluated and not everything is in place, the store tells VG.
– What changes do you expect when Norway, Sweden and Finland become allies of NATO?
– To make better use of resources, I think there may be more comprehensive changes, he says.
– Geography plays an important role: What are the outline lines when everyone is involved? What will the coalition reception look like when everyone is there? And pre-storage when everyone is involved? Now we can look at the evidence in a context where the defenders call it strategic depth, the Prime Minister responds.
But he rejects the appropriateness of allocating military resources so that one country can assume the primary responsibility of land defense, another navy and a third leader air defense and general war navy.
– No, I do not think there will be such a work division, says the store.
– Will Norway lose importance to NATO in the north when Sweden and Finland join?
– This is a misleading analysis. Sea areas, surveillance, aircraft, sea and air: this is what the store says we are.
Sends officer to Finland
Ole Morten Sandquist, Rear Admiral and Assistant Head of the FOH Armed Forces, says the security forces of the three countries are already well acquainted with each other through years of close cooperation.
Now looking forward to the next chapter
– Sweden and Finland have had officers at the FOH in Bodø for many years. A Norwegian officer is now at the headquarters of the Swedish Armed Forces in Stockholm, and will soon have a liaison officer in Helsinki, Norway, Sandkist tells VG.
Excited and confident
Leadership of the Armed Forces up to NATO membership is appropriate for neighboring countries:
– We are excited and confident and ready to take the collaboration to a new level. A united Nordic region will be strong for everyone, the Nordic region and individual countries. Sandquist says Sweden and Finland are countries with modern and large defenses that will bring new capabilities to the alliance.
But he insists – as Jonas Kahr Store puts it – that they will not be able to launch a joint security plan until NATO membership formalities are right:
– Norway will not help anyone in NATO. But if we can add knowledge and insight, Norway is ready to support the needs and preferences of Sweden and Finland. But it has to happen according to their rules and at the pace they want, says Ole Morton Sandkist.
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