UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Finland and Sweden to sign the security deals, amid debate about the two countries joining NATO.
The UK has agreed to mutual security pacts with Sweden and Finland, coming to their aid should either nation come under attack. The pacts also state that Finland and Sweden would assist the UK in a crisis.
According to the BBC, UK Prime Minister Johnson emphasised the “solemn declaration” between the UK and Finland was reflective of the “extreme difficulty of the times we are in”, explaining the deal was “not a short-term stop gap” while Finland considered whether to join the NATO defensive alliance, but rather an “enduring assurance between two nations”.
UK’s defence agreements with Finland and Sweden is set to bolster security prior to NATO membership.
According to William Davies, associate defense analyst at GlobalData, the agreement outlines that the UK will provide military assistance if needed, protecting Finland and Sweden during the process to formally join NATO.
“The UK’s announcement that it has signed mutual aid agreements with Finland and Sweden is a significant move for the two nations that are moving away from their previous stance of neutrality.
“Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO is unlikely to have happened if it were not for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Joining NATO will be a significant move by the Nordic countries in an effort to protect themselves from a more belligerent Russia, which has stated that it would see their NATO ascension as a threat to its own security, even though NATO is purely a defensive institution.”
According to GlobalData research, Finland is forecast to increase its overall defence spending to around $3.5 billion by 2025.
“The country is likely to fund further increases due to the ongoing threat that Russia poses.
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“Sweden is forecast to increase its defence budget by 7.9 per cent over the next five years reaching $12.5 billion by 2027 – this increase will fund the acquisition of new aircraft, submarines and missile defence capabilities, which will significantly modernise Sweden’s defence capabilities,” Davies concluded.