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3rd Dec 2022

Sweden and Finland announce joint EU battle group

Finland and Sweden have agreed to set up a joint Nordic battle group as their contribution to an EU rapidly deployable force.

The deal was announced by Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen during a meeting yesterday (4 October) in the border region of Tornionjokilaakso.

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Sweden will contribute 900 soldiers and Finland 300 to the Nordic battle group.

The two Prime Ministers also urged Norway to join the group, which would result in a total of 1,500 soldiers trained to fight in different environments and situations.

The Norwegian defence minister Kristin Krohn Devold has already indicated that Oslo would be keen to take part in the creation of EU battle groups, a key military goal of the Union.

Accepting a NATO country (Norway) into a battle group together with two non-aligned countries (Finland and Sweden) would not be a problem, Swedish Premier Göran Persson indicated.

The question is rather whether the EU would accept a non-EU member (Norway) to participate in the battle groups. There are also concerns over potential opposition to the plan amongst the Norwegian people, reports Swedish radio.

The EU battle groups project will see the creation of six or seven groups of 1,500 soldiers, which could be sent to international trouble spots from 2007.

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