On 13 June the meeting of the ministers of defence from the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) partner nations took place in Amsterdam. The topics on the meeting agenda included cooperation to support Ukraine and to promote the security situation in the neighbouring areas.

The UK-led JEF is a multilateral framework for defence cooperation formed by ten countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Through their cooperation, the JEF partner countries aim to develop military capabilities, prevent various crises and, if necessary, act together in crisis situations. The main operating environment is Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea region.

At the meeting, the Defence Ministers issued a joint statement:

We, the Defence Ministers of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom – members of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) – met today in Amsterdam. We discussed the current situation in Ukraine and explored how the JEF can respond to, and further mitigate, the security threats to our nations, including Hybrid challenges.

We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to support the people of Ukraine in the face of Russia’s appalling, illegal, unprovoked attack; and stand with Ukraine to support its right to be a sovereign, independent and democratic nation. The JEF Participant Nations, along with our Allies and partners, are responding decisively to provide military and humanitarian assistance, at pace, to ensure Ukraine is best able to defend itself, and will continue to do so as long as it takes.

We reiterate our standing commitment to preserving security and stability in Northern Europe and reaffirm our strong cooperation on tackling conventional and Hybrid threats from a military perspective, primarily in the JEF Core Regions. Today we face common challenges including Russian vessels mapping critical undersea and offshore infrastructure, indicating preparations for possible disruption and, at worst, sabotage.

Recalling the JEF Leaders’ Summit in Riga in December 2022 and the JEF Defence Ministers’ meeting at Edinburgh Castle in November 2022, we have today decided to accelerate cooperation in the JEF in order to detect, deter and respond to threats against our critical undersea and offshore infrastructure, reassure Allies and demonstrate collective commitment to the security and stability of Northern Europe; all in full alignment with NATO.

The JEF will specifically strengthen efforts with regard to actively sharing tactical intelligence and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) information on possible maritime threats to ensure a common situational awareness. JEF Participant Nations will continue to cooperate closely, in conjunction with NATO, to coordinate presence and will pool and share capabilities to deter and respond to threats in the JEF Core Regions. The JEF will include aspects of protecting critical undersea and offshore infrastructure and assessed vulnerabilities in future activities. Finally, JEF countries will share best practices and seek ways to cooperate in their respective approaches to the protection of critical undersea and offshore infrastructure.

The JEF will ensure coordination, complementarity and alignment with NATO on its ongoing work on the protection of critical undersea infrastructure. Activities within the JEF will be periodically reviewed, taking into account security developments and efforts from international partners.

Source: Gov.UK, Finnish Government