The seminar focused on the security situation in the Baltic Sea region, as well as national and regional responses to increased tensions and uncertainties. It also looked at the roles of the EU the NATO in the present situation.
Russia has challenged the European order and created tensions by annexing of Crimea and instigating the war in Donbas. In this context, the conference focused on the common security and defence policy of the EU and the state of the transatlantic partnership. Beyond this, the bilateral and multilateral defence partnerships in which Finland and Sweden are engaged were looked at.
The discussion was particularly relevant as Sweden has just, after months of difficult negotiations, come up with a new government coalition after the September elections. Finland is preparing for its parliamentary elections in April, while European elections will take place in May. The main aim of the event was to promote public debate on security policy in both countries.
Finland and Sweden are both confronted with an increasingly unstable and unpredictable international environment. Both countries remain outside NATO, thus being alone together. Nevertheless, they have developed advanced defence partnerships with NATO and many of its member states, and with each other. In the current situation, it is of crucial importance how Finland and Sweden conceive their security and defence policies in the months and years to come.