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the United Kingdom as the spearhead of European security

It will be a first, Saturday evening May 14 in Berlin. The Foreign Ministers of Finland and Sweden, the two candidate countries for NATO membership, will take part in the working dinner with their thirty colleagues from the Alliance countries. The thirty Foreign Ministers of the NATO countries meet for an informal meeting, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May, in the German capital.

→ ANALYSIS. NATO: Moscow promises to adapt in the event of Swedish and Finnish membership

In the midst of an upheaval in the European security order, the war declared by Russia on Ukraine is accelerating the return of States to a logic of alliance to ensure their protection and their security. The Social Democratic Party in power in Sweden will decide on Sunday, May 15, on joining NATO, a decision which should pave the way for a rapid announcement of the Swedish candidacy. Finland must formalize its candidacy on Sunday, after the green light given, on May 12, by the president and his prime minister, for membership ” without delay “ to the Alliance.

A new strategic concept

NATO foreign ministers will also reaffirm their support for Ukraine and prepare for the organization’s summit, scheduled for late June in Madrid. The Heads of State and Government of the Alliance must adopt a new strategic concept, supposed to take into account the new security challenges and define the political and military responses.

In this new strategic environment, the United Kingdom, hitherto monopolized by Brexit, is making a remarkable comeback on the Euro-Atlantic scene. At the forefront of military support for Ukraine (anti-tank weapons were delivered by London even before the start of the invasion), London intends to play a leading role in European security. “Britain has given Ukraine more military aid than any other country in the European Union,” underlines Eoin Drea, researcher at the Wilfried Martens Center for European Studies.

→ ANALYSIS. NATO: Sweden seeks guarantees between candidacy and membership

The first Western European leader to travel to kyiv after the Russian invasion and to address the Ukrainian Parliament, Boris Johnson believes that Western countries will have to continue to help Ukraine in the long term, even if it does not become not a member of the Atlantic Alliance, by providing it ” from NATO compatible weapons, training and intelligence sharing of such quality and quantity that no one will ever invade Ukraine again”.

A key player in European defense

The British Prime Minister traveled to Sweden and Finland on Wednesday May 11 to sign a defense and mutual protection agreement with the two Nordic countries. A way for the United Kingdom to position itself as a key player in European defence, even if the government has refused to sign a defense and security partnership with the European Union.

→ READ. War in Ukraine: Finland, exit door for the Russians

Intelligence sharing, cybersecurity, joint military exercises: this agreement is supposed to give a guarantee of security to Sweden and Finland in the interim period between their candidacy and their formal entry into the Atlantic Alliance, which could take several months. Finnish and Swedish officials anticipate the risk of a protracted and intense campaign of “hybrid” warfare, i.e. cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, incursions by Russian warplanes and disinformation campaigns.

Partnership with Sweden and Finland

This partnership also allows London to assert itself as one of the most active defenders of NATO’s northern and eastern flanks. In 2017, Sweden and Finland joined the Joint Expeditionary Force, a group of ten states around the Baltic and the North Sea that has been conducting joint military exercises since 2014 and cooperating in the fight against cyberattacks and hybrid attacks. .