Finland has expressed enthusiasm for the possible task of defending Iceland’s air space as a part of a greater Nordic cooperative effort, but await a final decision from Sweden.
While Iceland is a NATO country, it does not have a military. For paying its dues into the organisation, it permits other NATO countries to take part in air exercise in Iceland, and they are in turn obliged to defend the country in the event of an attack.
Recently, it was reported that Finland, Sweden and Norway could soon forge an agreement to share in the task of defending Iceland’s airspace. Finland’s Defence Minister Carl Haglund told reporters that if the agreement rolls forward, all three countries could soon be taking part in air exercises in Iceland. At the same time, he added that one of their concerns is the “financial aspect, that is what is demanded of us. It’s recognized that we have rather limited resources.”
Vísir now reports that next month, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson will be meeting with other Nordic ministers where, among other matters, Iceland’s air defence will be discussed. Össur told reporters that while Finland and Sweden are both positive towards the idea, Sweden has not yet made its position on the matter clear.
Should the joint airspace patrol mission move forward and be ultimately implemented, Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reports, patrols would likely not begin until at least 2014.