Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation has taken significant steps. Currently, the two countries engage in operative planning, which constitutes a significant part of their new cooperation agenda.

Although interoperability between the Finnish and Swedish armed forces is crucial for the bilateral defence relationship, the countries should be ‘interoperable’ at the strategic level as well.

Neither Finland’s and Sweden’s strategic cultures nor their decision-making systems or legislation are entirely similar. However, military non-alignment, similar threat perceptions and a shared assessment of their security environment facilitate their cooperation.

In view of the future, questions remain about the two countries’ readiness to enter mutual defence commitments. There is also a need to ensure that their basic messages concerning the bilateral defence relationship are aligned.

Over the longer term, the idea that one’s neighbour is worth defending should be entrenched in the strategic cultures of both states. This requires active nurturing of the already close relations between their national security communities.

Matti Pesu
Senior Research Fellow
Tuomas Iso-Markku
Research Fellow