News story

Defence Secretary meets with Nordic-Baltic defence ministers

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Michael Fallon will discuss the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine and recent incursions by the Russians into European air and sea space.

The group, known as the Northern Group, provides a key forum for discussion of common threats and security issues of particular interest to the Nordic-Baltic region.

Tomorrow’s meeting comes at a time of increased Russian military activity with more than 100 intercepts recorded in European airspace so far this year – 3 times the total in 2013.

Discussions are expected to include a focus on European security challenges and how the Northern Group, which meets twice a year at defence minister level, can better co-operate to strengthen this.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

The Northern Group provides a key platform to help shape and deliver Europe’s and NATO’s response to the security implications of Russia’s indefensible actions in Ukraine and whose incursions of European air and sea space have increased.

It is absolutely vital that like-minded countries come together to discuss how we face such issues and other matters of shared interest and I look forward to doing so tomorrow.

En route to Oslo Michael Fallon has visited RAF Lossiemouth today to view the fighters and crews which defend UK airspace and have intercepted Russian aircraft over the North Sea in recent weeks.

Wing Commander Sutton and Michael Fallon
Wing Commander Sutton, Officer Commandng 1 Squadron, briefing Defence Secretary Michael Fallon [Picture: Corporal Trish James RAF, Crown copyright]

Making the visit to the Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert he added:

State-of-the-art Typhoon fighter jets and their RAF crews at Lossiemouth work around the clock patrolling the skies above and around the UK and intercepting unidentified aircraft.

I was delighted to meet air and ground crew delivering this vital capability and see for myself the first-class kit they operate and the highly professional way in which they do so.

No less important is the work which goes on at Lossiemouth to prepare the crews for their vital and varied work, especially in the campaign against ISIL.

The UK is already playing a central role in NATO’s immediate assurance measures, underlined by its summer deployment of RAF Typhoon aircraft to Lithuania for the Baltic air policing mission and participation in military exercises across the Baltic States and eastern Europe.

Although sitting outside of NATO, the Northern Group is due to discuss how it can best help deliver the measures agreed at the NATO Summit Wales earlier this year.

These include:

  • the Readiness Action Plan, including immediate assurance measures and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force
  • the Defence Investment Pledge
  • the Enhanced Opportunities’ Forum for the alliance’s closest partners, including Sweden and Finland

Northern Group Ministers are also set to gain a deeper understanding of different national crisis management processes in order to better support the co-ordination needed for an effective response in the event of an international incident.