Sweden to sign defence agreement with Denmark
Sweden and Denmark will sign a defence agreement later this week, Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist announced on Monday.
In an interview with the daily Dagens Nyheter, Hultqvist said the agreement will make it possible for the countries' military units to use airbases and ports in peacetime, and to exchange information.
"The advantage is that we can use each other's infrastructures. By working together on information on the state of things and exchanging information, we can constantly have a joint picture of what is happening in the Baltic region," he told DN.
"In that way, we can also deal jointly with any problems that may come up," Hultqvist continued.
Russian surveillance planes flying with flight transponders turned off have in the past been close to colliding with civilian planes flying into Copenhagen's Kastrup airport. That has contributed to the initiative, said the minister.
"It was after that that we contacted the Danes. That is an example that showed that we need to co-ordinate in different ways so that we have a joint picture of what is happening. There are arrangements already today, but this is about developing it all so we can share military information," said Hultqvist.
The agreement will be signed by the two countries' defence ministers on Thursday and will also include access to each other's territories "under certain conditions". But the agreement will only be used during peacetime. A similar agreement is in place between Sweden and Finland.
"With Finland we are also preparing for (joint) crisis management beyond peaceful conditions. But if that is the case we will then decide if we are to open that door and take advantage of the possibilities with Finland," Hultqvist said.
Sweden does not belong to Nato, nor does Finland. Asked if that co-operation meant any difference in principle to a co-operation with the Nato-country Denmark, Hultqvist replied: "Denmark is a country that we have common geography with, so we think it is reasonable to reach a bilateral agreement. We already have bilateral co-operations with other Nato-countries, as well as the Nordic co-operation and we take part with Nato countries in various international efforts," said Hultqvist.