“Security debates and partnership choices in the Nordic states: From differentiation to alignment”, Kristin Haugevik et al. (NUPI, Norway)

What security challenges do the Nordic states highlight in a fluctuating security environment? Towards which partner institutions, networks and states do they orient themselves, and what role do they envision for further Nordic security and defence cooperation? Focusing on Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, this report maps and analyses present-day debates on security and defence in these four states. Examining both official positions and perspectives presented in the wider political and media debates in all four states, a key finding is that their perceptions of the security environment and of key partnerships have become more aligned over the past decade. Further, all four states are woven into a complex web of European and transatlantic initiatives, partnerships and institutions in security and defence. While Finland and Sweden remain outside of NATO and Norway and Iceland outside of the EU, the Nordic states’ participation and degree of integration in European and transatlantic structures is more similar than it used to be. We also observe that the four states appear more aligned than before in their views on how Nordic security and defence cooperation should develop in the future, and for what purpose. While it is still premature to talk about a ‘common Nordic order’ in the security and defence domain, in all four states we find that there is interest in and commitment to further strengthening Nordic security and defence cooperation.

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