An unsettled world requires focus on security in Nordic Region
27th of November 2023
The security policy picture has changed. There’s war and conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East, we’re in the middle of a Nordic expansion of NATO, and our democratic values and systems are under pressure from several sides. There are plenty of challenges, and so it was natural for the prime ministers and the Nordic Council to debate how the Nordic countries should respond to the current situation and at the same time create a safe and green Nordic Region.
We’re in the midst of a new, historical situation. It’s opened the door to closer co-operation.
Security in the Nordic Region
The Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre, opened the debate in the Norwegian Parliament (Storting), and set the course for the heart of the discussion from the outset:
“Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO will strengthen our security.” We’re in the midst of a new, historical situation. It’s opened the door to closer co-operation – also within overall defence, social security, and emergency preparedness. Norway wishes to strengthen co-operation within the civilian element of NATO’s host nation support concept. Critical infrastructure, logistics, and supplies on both the military and civilian sides should, as much as possible, be assessed in a Nordic context,” said Jonas Gahr Støre, the Prime Minister of Norway.
From both the Swedish and Finnish sides came the desire for greater co-operation between the countries to enhance security. The Prime Minister of Finland, Petteri Orpo, pointed to the possibility of more joint crisis exercises and training, as well as the creation of common standby stockpiles and the establishment of a Nordic network within supply preparedness.
Angelika Bengtsson, Nordic Council
Disinformation is a threat to democracy
Although conflicts and war pose a threat to the Nordic Region, another threat that can come from both outside and within Nordic borders is the misuse of communication technology. Both Hanna Katrín Friðriksson from the Nordic Council and Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the Prime Minister of Iceland, pointed to intelligent technology – AI:
“AI will impact all sectors of society, and the technology is developing much faster than political decisions can be made in this area. We must act immediately, because democracy itself is vulnerable. It must be cared for and protected at all costs,” said Jakobsdóttir.
It is precisely this vulnerability through which the new technologies can be used to create misinformation, which was also a theme raised from the Swedish side. Angelika Bengtsson from the Nordic Council emphasised that misinformation is a threat to democratic norms. She came up with a recent example from Sweden where, according to Bengtsson, the authorities have been exposed to a misinformation campaign, the purpose of which is to present Sweden in a bad light, both nationally and internationally. In order to combat the misuse of technologies and misinformation, the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, pointed out that a centre for cyber security has been set up in Sweden.
Green transition also creates security
If the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable region in the world by 2030, we must pick up the pace on the green transition. In that sense there was broad agreement that Nordic co-operation on the green transition is key. For example, we could strengthen co-operation within the production of sustainable energy from the sun, wind, and water. The more sustainable energy we can produce ourselves, the better it is for the green Nordic Region and the better our position in terms of security of supply, as we can then become independent of fossil energy from regimes that we can’t trust.