The past, present and future of Swedish defence policy


Geopolitical benefits, the future of transatlantic relations and the European Union's common foreign and security policy were also discussed at an event organised by the Faculty of Military Science and Officer Training (FMSOT) of the University of Public Service (UPS).


Johan Lagerlöf, Director of Defence Policy of the Swedish Ministry of Defence, was the guest of the Department of International Security Studies of the UPS, who gave a presentation on the Nordic country's security and defence policy.


Following his welcome address, Colonel Klára Siposné Kecskeméthy, Deputy Dean for International Affairs at the FMSOT, asked the Director of Defence Policy Johan Lagerlöf to assess Sweden's geopolitical situation and the Nordic state's place in the European security architecture. In his presentation, the expert highlighted the special geographic characteristics of the Nordic country: its proximity to the Baltic Sea, the long border with Finland (and other neighbours) and its natural resources. "Geography reveals a lot," says Johan Lagerlöf, who also attributes the country's current security and defence policy to geopolitical factors.


The Nordic countries have a long history of cooperation, with five countries (Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland) and three autonomous regions (the Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands) participating in regional cooperation. The region's shared historical experiences and unique identity have given rise to the Nordic Council, which hosts intergovernmental meetings, and to a number of sub-regional initiatives. Johan Lagerlöf stressed that the Nordic region is perceived as a region where the Nordic countries share a number of common foreign and security policy interests, despite their different relations with the EU and NATO.


The Defence Policy Director then summarised the special relationship between Sweden and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The country is a member of the North Atlantic Partnership Council, an active player in the maintenance of peace and security and a key partner in many other areas. It is one of five countries that contribute a large share to NATO operations and other Alliance objectives. Sweden remains one of NATO's most active partners today," said the defence policy expert, who also said that the Baltic Sea region is a key area in the country's relationship with NATO, where a new security governance structure has been developing over the past two decades. He stressed that the aim of the regional initiative is "to be able to act together in peacetime, in times of crisis, but also in times of conflict."


The security policy expert also said that cooperation with NATO and the EU would always be an important part of Swedish security thinking, but that in the field of defence policy, the right balance between the tasks and objectives of the two organisations had to be found.


Prior to the presentation, Boglárka Koller, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, welcomed Dag Hartelius, Sweden's Ambassador to Hungary, and security policy expert Johan Lagerlöf to the university.