UK signs security deals with Sweden, Finland

Britain’s Prime Minister announced that he had reached a new agreement with Sweden and Finland, pledging to support those two countries’ militaries should they come under attack.

“If Sweden is under attack and seeks our support, we will give it,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today at a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Harpsund.

Under the agreement, dubbed the Political Declaration of Solidarity, “Britain and Sweden would support each other in various ways should either country suffer disaster or be attacked,” added Mrs Andersson.

Prime Minister Johnson’s office said he will sign a similar agreement with Finland today in Helsinki. “We firmly and unequivocally support both Sweden and Finland. The move to sign security agreements is a symbol of enduring commitment between our countries,” stressed Mr Johnson.

With the new agreement, Britain and the two countries will increase information sharing and speed up the process of training, exercises and joint military operations.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on May 11 in Harpsund, Sweden.  Photo: Reuters.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on May 11 in Harpsund, Sweden. Picture: Reuters.

Finland and Sweden, two traditionally neutral countries, are considering the possibility of joining NATO and could apply to join the alliance in May, marking a major shift in the policies of the two Nordic countries.

NATO diplomats said the ratification process could take about a year as it has to be approved by the parliaments of the 30 member countries. Key NATO members such as the US, UK, Germany… have given strong support to Finland and Sweden if the two countries bid to join.

A bid for NATO would not give the two Nordic countries the protection of Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which stipulates that any attack on a member of the bloc is also considered an attack on the alliance as a whole. Alliance and NATO will join the reaction.

During the transition from candidate to full member, Finland and Sweden need a number of security guarantees from NATO, including calls on Alliance countries to help strengthen the Alliance’s capacity to defend against any threat.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said last week that Washington had promised security guarantees if Stockholm applied to join NATO, but these were not full security guarantees. Linde declined to elaborate, saying only that it “will make it clear to Russia that the US will not stand by and take negative action against Sweden.”

Seven Decades of NATO Advance in Europe.  Click on the image to see details.

Seven Decades of NATO Advance in Europe. Click on the image to see details.

Ngoc app (Corresponding Reuters)