On September 24, member countries of the European Intervention Initiative (EII), including France and Sweden, which was launched by France in 2018 to promote the emergence of a common strategic culture, met and agreed to strengthen their military cooperation.
The meeting took place less than 3 months after France’s General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) met with his Swedish counterpart Swedish Defense Material Administration (Försvarets materielverk) and announced a partnership project for anti-tank missiles which will be based on the MBDA Medium Range Missile (MMP).
This collaboration, signed in a letter of intent which was signed by Ms Parly and Mr Hultqvist has been published by the Swedish government and details the intensificariob of “the strategic dialogue on defense and security issues” and develop a system of “information sharing”, “strategic foresight” and “cooperation in the field of development of defense capabilities ”.
The move will help improve the interoperability between French and Swedish armed forces help in joint operations. The duo also discussed the “possibility of cooperating in the fields of the fight against hybrid threats […] in coordination with NATO and the European Union”.
“France and Sweden are partners with common values, history and interests. When international institutions and standards are challenged, we emphasize our commitment to democracy, human rights, multilateralism and international law. […] Our objective is to work together more effectively, to strengthen our interoperability, to promote synergies in the development of capabilities and to develop a common strategic culture in order to be able to deploy side by side in military operations when needed”, explained Ms. Parly and Mr. Hultqvist before the signing of the letter of intent.
In the letter, both ministers opined that “today’s geopolitical challenges are more acute and complex than in recent decades”.
As a case in point, they cited the Mediterranean, where “unilateral actions jeopardize regional stability and undermine the unity of the West”, or those of Beijing, which is in the midst of expanding its global military presence, as well as Russia, which “is preparing for a long-term conflict with the West”.
For Sweden, a EU member state but which is not part of NATO, the closest threat is posed by Russia, which has boosted its military spending by 40% through 2025.
Ever since Stockholm moved closed towards Britain and the United States in diplomatic relations, it has been on the lookout for military cooperation, especially with its neighbors. In 2017 it not only joined the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) that was created by Britain but also joined its Tempest program, which aims to develop a 6th generation fighter aircraft.