Close and comprehensive interaction with the Nordic countries is important for Finland. In recent years, cooperation has deepened also in the field of security and defence policy as despite different basic solutions the challenges faced by Nordic defence forces are similar.

The Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) aims at gaining advantage through networking for the development and use of defence capability. Common defence policy related objectives and practical cooperation of the defence forces strengthen the basis of cooperation. From the military point of view, deepening cooperation aims at cost-effectiveness with which it is possible to secure resources for the national development and use of the most important operational capabilities. In addition, cooperation results in interoperability, which allows closer cooperation in training, exercises, acquisition of defence materiel and crisis-management operations for the Nordic defence forces in the future. NORDEFCO is widely seen as a good example of functioning regional cooperation to develop capabilities.

Military cooperation is conducted in five areas: strategic development, capabilities, human resources and education, training and exercises, and operations.

Chairmanship rotates annually among Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Finland will hold the NORDEFCO chairmanship for the third time in 2017.

In the 1990s and 2000s the long tradition of cooperation quickly led to practical arrangements, the most important being NORDAC (Nordic Armaments Co-operation) in 1994, NORDCAPS (Nordic Coordinated Arrangement for Military Peace Support) in 1997 and NORDSUP (Nordic Supportive Defence Structures) in 2008. In 2009, the Nordic Defence Ministers decided to merge these structures, thus creating NORDEFCO (Nordic Defence Cooperation). The current cooperation is based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Defence Ministers, and is directed by the long-term plan NORDEFCO Vision 2020 drawn up in 2013.

As a parallel development, the level of ambition in developing the Nordic cooperation was rising also in the field of foreign and security policy. In his report published in 2009, the former Norwegian minister of foreign affairs and defence Thorvald Stoltenberg presented 13 initiatives to develop cooperation.

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