The initiative for a pan-Nordic air defence of Iceland could be finalised as early as mid-November.
While Iceland is a NATO country, it does not have a military – it needs to seek other solutions for its national defence. Traditionally, this has meant allowing other NATO countries to conduct exercises in Icelandic air space, but recently, Norway, Sweden and Finland began talks with Iceland over the idea of the three sharing the duties of patrolling Iceland’s air space – even though neither Sweden nor Finland are NATO countries.
Finland’s Defence Minister Carl Haglund recently 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.”
Iceland’s Foreign Minister, Össur Skarphéðinsson, will be meeting with other Nordic ministers where, among other matters, Iceland’s air defence will be discussed.
Vísir now reports that Carl told reporters that while he does not believe there is any rush to come to a decision, he expects that an agreement of some form will be reached in mid-November. Meanwhile, the air defence of Iceland issue is currently before the Swedish parliament, and Carl told reporters that he is in constant contact with the Swedish government.
The Icelandic government has not said whether if, should the initiative be approved, it would necessarily mean that the country will no longer need to be a member of NATO.