Sweden's cooperation with NATO

Sweden's cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is based on our participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). This currently includes the participation in the NATO-led crisis management operation in Kosovo and the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, as well as cooperation in the field of civil emergency planning.

The core of NATO’s activities after its creation in 1949 was the mutual defence guarantee as codified in Article V of the Washington Treaty. This changed with the end of the Cold War, as NATO took on the main role of providing the foundation of collective security. New tasks, such as the promotion of peace and stability in Central and Eastern Europe and the participation in international crisis management, thus gained importance. The Chicago Summit 2012 laid the foundation for NATO’s work on interoperability and capabilities development. However, in the aftermath of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Wales Summit 2014 marked a return to the mutual defence guarantee as the core of the Alliance’s military work.

NATO currently consists of 28 member states. The newest members are Albania and Croatia which joined in 2009. Other recent members include Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia which joined in 2004. The other member states are Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Out of these 28 countries, 22 are also members of the European Union.

NATO's supreme decision-making body is the North Atlantic Council, which is made up of high-level representatives of the 28 allied countries. All decisions in NATO are made by consensus. The highest representative of the Alliance is the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who assumed the position on 1 October 2014. NATO's headquarters is located in Brussels, Belgium.

Partnership for Peace and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council

Sweden has cooperated with NATO in the framework of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) since 1994. PfP is a program for practical cooperation between NATO and non-NATO countries in Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. PfP is an important tool for developing interoperability between the participating countries, thus improving their possibilities of working together in crisis management.

PfP also serves to promote security. By participating in PfP, Sweden wishes to contribute to the construction of a Euro-Atlantic structure for a safer and more secure Europe. PfP is also an important for Sweden's participation in international crisis management.

Work within the PfP is guided by the principle that each country decides for herself the content and extent of her cooperation with NATO. The point of departure for Sweden's cooperation within the PfP is our interests as a military non-aligned country.

Exercises within the framework of PfP are conducted regularly. One of the purposes of such exercises is to develop interoperability, i.e. the possibility for military forces of different countries to efficiently work together in international crisis management operations.

Cooperation with NATO also includes the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) which forms the political framework for PfP cooperation. Established in 1997, the EAPC is a forum for information exchange and political dialogue on security issues between NATO and the 22 partner countries. The Council convenes on ambassadorial level once a month in addition to the ongoing regular committee work. The Council also meets on the level of defense and foreign ministers, as well as on the level of Heads of State and Government.

Recent developments in the partnership cooperation

Sweden further participates in two new partnership formats which were established at the Wales Summit 2014. The Partnership Interoperability Initiative (PII) provides a framework and structure to maintain and develop the cooperation with those 24 partner countries which have participated in NATO’s various operations. The Enhanced Opportunity Programme (EOP) offers 5 partner countries the possibility of closer cooperation on a bilateral level on policies such as military cooperation, defence and security.

In addition, Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding with NATO on Host Nation Support (HNS) in 2014. The agreement clarifies Sweden's role as a host nation in connection to military exercises or crisis management operations carried out on its territory.

Civil Emergency Planning and Disaster Response

Within the PfP-framework, Sweden is also contributing to the development of procedures for an efficient use of civil resources in a crisis situation. In this work, Sweden is represented by the delegation and more than ten civilian agencies. Sweden is also contributing in the field of disaster response through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), which is an EAPC-structure.

Further information on Sweden’s cooperation with NATO can be found through the link on the sidebar.