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The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces$
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Hugo Meijer and Marco Wyss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790501

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790501.001.0001

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Finland and Sweden

Finland and Sweden

Chapter:
(p.344) 19 Finland and Sweden
Source:
The Handbook of European Defence Policies and Armed Forces
Author(s):

Jan Joel Andersson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198790501.003.0020

Since the end of the cold war, the two Nordic neighbours and non-NATO members Finland and Sweden have undertaken major defence reforms but have pursued rather different strategic choices. After some initial hesitation in the mid-1990s, Sweden rapidly abandoned its long-time focus on territorial defence in the 2000s, suspended conscription in 2009, and turned to out-of-area operations in collaboration with partners in NATO, the EU, and the UN in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Libya, and Central Africa. In contrast, Finland chose to remain more focused on territorial defence and was one of few European countries that retained national conscription after the end of the cold war. Bordering an increasingly aggressive Russia, Finland and Sweden are refocusing on territorial defence and intensifying their bilateral military collaboration as well as their collaboration with the United States. Meanwhile, both countries are increasingly debating possible NATO membership.

Keywords:   Sweden defence reforms, Finland defence reforms, Nordic defence, territorial defence, bilateral military collaboration, national conscription, non-NATO members

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