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Partner Session: Defence cooperation beyond the alliance borders: What can the Balkans learn from Nordic countries?

Partner Session: Defence cooperation beyond the alliance borders: What can the Balkans learn from Nordic countries?

Discussion points:

  • What are the drivers of regional defence cooperation?
  • How can the countries attain the necessary level of trust and confidence?
  • What are the key challenges to defence cooperation in Nordic countries/in the Balkans?
  • How can professionals in the security sector contribute to enhanced cooperation?
  • What are the lessons observed in the process of establishing the Balkan Medical Task Force, a successful example of regional cooperation?
  • What are the best mechanisms for building interoperability – NATO / Partnership for Peace, regional frameworks or something else?

Serbian National Security Strategy from 2019 officially affirms the orientation towards military neutrality, while all other Balkan countries have become NATO members or seek membership. How does this reflect on regional defence and security cooperation?

Even though regional cooperation appears to be taking the back seat in the public discourse, which is dominated by conflict, experts tend to agree that there are shared threats and security interests which will bring the countries in the region closer. However, there is a view that cooperation has so far been prevailingly driven by external actors and the countries in the region have to genuinely take over ownership.

The Nordic experience demonstrates that military neutral or non-aligned countries can still engage in active defence and security cooperation with their NATO neighbours. What are preconditions for this to happen?

Further readings:

Garberg Bredesen and K. Friis, Governance Entrepreneurs as Spoilers in Nordic Defence Cooperation, Journal of Regional Security 14(2), 2020.

Fägerstern (ed.), The Nordics and the New European Security Architecture, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, 2020.

Salonius-Pasternak and H. Vanhanen, Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation: What history suggests about future scenarios, FIIA briefing paper 284, 2020.

Stojanovic Gajic and F. Ejdus (eds.), Security Community Practices in the Western Balkans, Routledge, 2018.

Bechev, F. Ejdus and D. Taleski, Culture of Regional Cooperation in the Southeast Europe, BIEPAG background paper, 2015.

Lopandić and J. Kronja, Regional Initiatives and Multilateral Cooperation in the Balkans, EMINS, 2011.