Sweden's cooperation with NATO

Sweden's cooperation with NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) is based on our participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) including the participation in NATO-led crisis management operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, cooperation between EU and NATO with regard to EU-led crisis management operations, and the cooperation in the field of civil emergency planning.

When NATO was created in 1949, the core of its activities was the mutual defence guarantee as codified in article V of the Washington Treaty. After the Cold War, NATO's role as an organization providing security emerged and new tasks, such as promoting peace and stability in Central and Eastern Europe and participating in international crisis management, have become more important.

NATO currently has 28 members. On the first of April 2009 Albania and Croatia joined the Alliance. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – became members on 2 April 2004. Other members include Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Out of these 28 members, 22 are also members of the European Union.

NATO's supreme decision making body is the North Atlantic Council, which consists of representatives of the 28 allies. 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, Caucasus and Central Asia. Participation in 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 work effectively together in international crisis management operations.

Cooperation with NATO also includes the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council 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 23 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.

Crisis management in the Balkans and Afghanistan

Crisis management continues to be a key task for NATO. Sweden participates at present in two NATO-led crisis management operations, in KFOR (Kosovo Force) in Kosovo and ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in Afghanistan.

More information on these operations can be found on the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs website: www.ud.se, or the Swedish Armed Forces website: www.forsvarsmakten.se.

Civil Emergency Planning and Disaster Response

Within the PfP-framework, Sweden is 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 as well as more than ten civilian agencies. Sweden is also making contributions in the field of disaster response through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Centre, which is an EAPC-structure.