Speculation Mounts Over Finnish, Swedish Role in Baltic Air Defense

Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
2/20/2012 4:21 PM
Category: Politics

NATO is trying to get Finland and Sweden, neither of which are members of the alliance, to join the Baltic airspace policing mission, according to a US think tank, the Jamestown Foundation.

“Participation by the non-NATO countries, Sweden and Finland, in this mission is a matter under active consideration [...] Sweden and Finland are planning closer defense and security ties with NATO on one hand, and with the three Baltic States in a Nordic-Baltic framework on the other hand,” an article by the Jamestown Foundation said.

The Finnish Defense Ministry told Talouselämä, however, that Finland is not at all keen on the idea. Cost-cutting decisions affecting the Air Force alone would make it difficult to defend the idea in public circles.

A spokesman for the Estonian Defense Ministry talking to ERR News also expressed skepticism, saying that the Estonian side is currently not seeking Swedish or Finnish participation in the Baltic mission, and that any foreseeable cooperation would remain in the distant future.

Finland has been pressured by the US "for years" to take part in the defense planning for Estonia, Talouselämä said.

NATO decided earlier this month, to extend the Baltic fighter jets patrol mission for an indefinite period. The mission, sparing the Baltic states significant costs on developing their own fighter fleets, will likely be declared permanent, protecting it from potential budget cuts, at the NATO summit in Chicago next May.


Ott Tammik

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