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JEF Defence Ministers’ statement: Finland and Sweden’s application regarding NATO membership

JEF Defence Ministers talked about current security challenges, including the implications of Russia’s intrusion of Ukraine, and regarded the future development of the JEF to ensure it continues to make an effective contribution to security and stability in its core region of the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea.   JEF Protection Ministers also took part in a table-top exercise to practise the JEF’s role in responding to an rising crisis, including the relationship between the JEF and NATO in this scenario. Every JEF Defence Ministers highly welcome Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for NATO membership.   Each country made its sovereign decision to participate NATO after a clear, open up and democratic process; they will share the Alliance’s beliefs and are modern, highly capable defence and security partners with whom together we will enhance our collective, transatlantic security.
Today, the Defence Ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Drive (JEF) – comprising Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK – met in Oslo.
We reaffirm the shared purpose and typical resolve of the JEF to operate together to enhance security plus stability in northern Europe and be ready to respond to a wide range of contingencies, both in peacetime and at times of crisis plus conflict; all in a way that is coherent with, and supporting to, the role associated with NATO.
The particular allied JEF Partners can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Finland and Sweden in a spirit of solidarity through their particular accession to NATO membership rights. We shall work closely with our NATO Allies in order to integrate both Finland and Sweden into the Alliance as quickly as possible.   The JEF shall engage in multi-domain activity across our core regions to offer enhanced levels of assurance to our Finnish and Swedish friends as they complete the process of becoming a member of NATO.   This is in addition to the series of integrated activities plus exercises in northern Europe that JEF Defence Ministers agreed at their meeting at Belvoir Castle on 21-22 February 2022.

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