HELSINKI — Sweden’s half-year rotating presidency of the European Union, which began on Jan. 1, is shaped to deliver a sharper focus on the need to deepen collaboration among member states in the key areas of defense capabilities and joint military procurements.
Swedish prime minister Ulf Kristersson’s Moderate-led coalition government, which was elected to office after parliamentary elections in September 2022, has identified “unity of purpose” and the strengthening of European defense readiness and capacities as primary targets during the term of its presidency.
Sweden, against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, favors solutions that can advance the collective defense of Europe using weapons and allied military equipment that are not only made in the EU but acquired under joint procurement arrangements.
The framework for Sweden’s presidency prioritizes continued EU economic and military support for Ukraine. A longstanding target of hostile threats from Moscow, Sweden embodies the Nordic view that Ukraine’s success in its war efforts against Russia is paramount to building a robust European security and defense policy.
Sweden is using the EU’s Strategic Compass, which is tailored to provide a shared strategic threat assessment of the challenges the bloc faces, as its guiding light. In particular, Stockholm is keen to deepen EU defense cooperation with NATO and develop a long-term capital investment program to bolster European defense.
Achieving a more meaningful level of pan-EU collaboration within the cybersecurity domain has emerged as one of Sweden’s critical targets. This goal gained traction on Jan. 3, when the European Commission (EC) presented a far-reaching Joint Communication (JC) for an EU common cyber defense policy to the European Parliament.
The proposal would help boost the bloc’s cyber defense posture, said Pål Jonson, Sweden’s defense minister.
“The ambition is to strengthen the EU’s cyber defense capabilities, as well as give individual states the tools to conduct joint cyber operations. It will also improve inter-state coordination, information sharing and interoperability between cyber security and cyber defense, including between the civil and military cyber communities,” said Jonson.
Gerard O'Dwyer is the Scandinavian affairs correspondent for Defense News.