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Nordic joint action: Sweden and Denmark enhance defence cooperation

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Written by: Marina Tovar

Edited by: Oliver Jacob Reschreiter

Supervised by: Riccardo Angelo Grassi


Pal Jonson, Swedish Defence Minister, and Troels Lund Poulsen, Danish Defence Minister, signed a letter of intent on enhanced defence cooperation on 7 May 2024. The letter of intent is framed in “light of the concerning security situation in Europe and beyond and the need to continue building upon the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding” (Government of Sweden, 2024) the two countries signed in 2016 that guides their cooperation in defence matters. This agreement aligns with broader cooperation frameworks, including the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), and the countries’ willingness to increase collaborative defence efforts.

Defence cooperation and joint responsibility for Baltic Security

The following paragraphs aim to summarize the content of the letter of intent outlining the key areas where cooperation will be conducted. Significant areas in which the two countries will coordinate in the acquisition of  defence equipment, air policing and maritime cooperation. Sweden and Denmark agreed to “coordinate acquisition of defence equipment where possible, focusing initially on infantry fighting vehicles – CV90 vehicles” (Government of Sweden, 2024, p.1). Within this initative, the two governments mentioned that, where possible, “options for early Danish and Swedish procurement of further CV90 vehicles to build up the Danish heavy brigade and Swedish land forces could be investigated” (Government of Sweden, 2024, p.1) Concerning air policing and maritime cooperation, the countries committed to deepening cooperation, including joint patrolling and maintenance of a continued presence of  fighter aircrafts in strategic locations, including the Danish fighter aircraft at the base in Ronneby.

Sweden and Denmark seek to take joint responsibility for Baltic Security and better coordinate their efforts in aiding Ukraine. Cooperation in Latvia is aimed at enhancing NATO’s forward presence to counter Russian threats to the Baltic region. To achieve this objective, the two countries will coordinate to provide a rotational basis with a battalion to the Canadian-led presence.  (Government of Sweden, 2024). Linked to the Russian threat, the two countries will continue assisting Ukraine with military equipment and donations, including in diverse sectors, like air defence, or ammunition (Government of Sweden, 2024).

Defence cooperation is enclosed in wider multilateral cooperation frameworks

Sweden’s recent accession to NATO marks a significant shift in its defence strategy, ending over two centuries of military non-alignment (Szumski, 2024). As mentioned in the letter of intent, the need to strengthen collective security efforts in the region aligns with NATO’s third pillar – collective security – and the growing threat Russia’s assertiveness poses in the Baltic. Denmark, a NATO member since 1949, views this “cooperation as a natural progression in light of Sweden’s new status within the Alliance” (Szumski, 2024). 

Sweden and Denmark share other multilateral defence cooperation frameworks besides NATO for example, NORDEFCO with Finland, Iceland, and Norway.  For example, NORDEFCO’s ministerial meeting in April 2024, adopted the Vision 2030, aiming to strengthen Nordic defence cooperation in areas including “logistical support to enable joint operations, military mobility, defence materiel cooperation for increased interchangeability, or security of military supplies for increased resilience” (Government of Sweden, 2024). Observing this, this new bilateral defence cooperation agreement likely aligns with the Vision’s objectives because it aims to enhance joint procurement and cooperation in the acquisition of aerial vehicles and conduct joint air policing and maritime operations In addition to these areas, the countries’ support to Ukraine through military donations aligns with NORDEFCO’s emphasis on providing military supplies to increase resilience in Ukraine.


The enhanced defence cooperation responds to the evolving security landscape of Sweden’s accession to NATO and the new 2030 Vision of NORDEFCO. By coordinating defence equipment procurement and enhancing air policing and maritime cooperation, the two countries reinforce their commitment to collective defence and deepen their bilateral relations.


Government of Sweden. (May 7, 2024). Letter of Intent on Enhanced Defence Cooperation between Sweden and Denmark. Government of Sweden.

Government Offices of Sweden. (April 30, 2024). Joint vision to enhance Nordic defence cooperation. Government Offices of Sweden.

Szumski, C. (May 9, 2024). Denmark and Sweden agree on joint Baltic defence cooperation. Euractiv.