Mutual security agreement reached between UK, Finland and Sweden

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – The United Kingdom has come to mutual agreement with Finland and Sweden, agreeing to assist them if they are attacked.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, paid a visit to both countries to sign the agreements, which came amid debate over their membership in NATO.

In the event of a crisis, the pacts state that Sweden and Finland will aid the United Kingdom.

Given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Mr Johnson and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said cooperation was even more crucial.

In a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, the second agreement was announced.

Mr Johnson said the UK and Finland’s “solemn declaration” reflected the “extreme difficulty of the times we are in.”

Mr Niinistö explained that the deal to strengthen the security of Finland was not a “zero sum game” against a particular country, but rather a step to better safeguard the country itself. 

If Sweden was attacked and turned to the UK for help and support, they would deliver it, Mr Johnson said earlier in Sweden.

Mr Johnson called the declaration’s signing days after Victory in Europe Day a “sad irony,” but said it was necessary given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s grim conditions.

When asked by the BBC what the UK would do if Russia invaded Sweden, Mr Johnson said the agreement meant that they would come to the other party’s support upon request from the other side.

Ms. Andersson maintained that the mutual assistance arrangement with the UK would make her country safer, adding that that was of course, significant. Whatever policy choices they made in Sweden, this is critical.

She also stated that the country was exploring all potential alternatives, with NATO being one among them.

Ms Andersson said her administration had sought input from other nations on the kind of support it could expect between making an application for membership in Nato and formally joining the alliance.

She said that the UK has already received assurances from a number of other countries, including a recent press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a recent visit to the US by Sweden’s foreign minister.

According to the BBC’s analysis,

Boris Johnson’s mutual security promises to Finland and Sweden demonstrate how the face of European defence is evolving.

Both countries are thinking about joining NATO. And Britain is assisting them militarily.

This is not the same as the legal and automatic security guarantees that Nato members provide to one another.

Instead, it is a political declaration that if both countries’ armed forces are attacked, the UK will come to their help.

The prime minister insists that this is a long-term commitment rather than a stopgap measure. However, if Finland and Sweden apply to join NATO in the next months, Britain’s assistance could be critical.

This is because there may be a difficult time between application and admittance, which could last many months, during which neither country has the complete security assurance that the Western alliance can provide.

The agreements with Finland and Sweden are not a legal or automatic security guarantee, but rather a political commitment that the UK will help them if they need it.

Mr Johnson characterised the pact with Sweden in an interview with the BBC as declaring something that “should be implicit” in the relationship of the countries anyway.

When asked if he believed Sweden should join Nato, Mr Johnson said it was “not for the UK to intervene” in their internal debate about whether or not to apply.

However, he added that if the Swedes chose to join the EU, they would enthusiastically back them. They would  make every effort to make things move as smoothly and easily as possible.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.