Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will meet his Swedish counterpart Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm today.
Relations between the two Scandinavian nations are historically tight. This meeting strengthens inter country cooperation on issues including border policy, security, and the transition to green economies. However, the meeting will prioritize defense cooperation.
Unlike Norway, Sweden maintains a longstanding policy of neutrality from international alliances and is not a member of NATO. However, recent Russian action in the Baltic and Ukraine have pushed Sweden closer to NATO. In January, Sweden foreign minister Ann Linde reminded the world that Sweden maintains the option to formally join NATO. These remarks frustrated Russian officials concerned with NATO Eastern expansion.
The bilateral meeting today offers another opportunity for Sweden to explore increased collaboration with NATO members. Given Russia’s reaction to NATO deployments in Eastern Europe, expect Russia to consider bolstering defenses in the Baltic Sea. Russian forces will likely concentrate within the Kaliningrad Oblast enclave, a strategically important area that exclusively borders NATO member states. Further posturing from Russia will create yet another flashpoint between Russia and the West.
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Mario is a Current Development’s Analyst who writes on security issues, with regional interests in Latin America, Europe and North America.