Expert Roundtable and Presentation of the Project Findings
Nordic-Baltic Security in Times of Uncertainty: The Defence-Energy Nexus
On 27 March 2018 the Headquarters of the Multinational Corps Northeast (HQ MNC NE) hosted the presentation of findings from the joint research project of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) titled Nordic-Baltic Security in Times of Uncertainty: The Defence-Energy Nexus. It was the fourth and last meeting promoting the final report related to the project. The event included approximately 40 participants. In addition to officers serving at the HQ MNC NE, guests included representatives of multinational units cooperating with the Corps as well as members of academia. The discussion covered broadly defined security of the Nordic-Baltic region, including both political-military and energy issues. Close interrelation between these two dimensions of security was the main theme of the PISM-NUPI report, which provides recommendations for closer cooperation between Poland and Norway.
The seminar was opened by Major General Krzysztof Król, Deputy Commander of the MNC NE. In his introductory remarks, Maj. Gen. Król outlined the tasks of the Corps in strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence on the eastern flank, which was also a subject of further briefings by MNC NE representatives. The Corps plays a fundamental role in operational planning and maintaining situational awareness in the Baltic Sea region. It also coordinates the NATO Force Integration Units (NFIUs) in that area. In the event of a conflict, the Corps has the capability to command land operations involving up to five divisions. Denmark, Germany and Poland are the framework nations of the MNC NE and officers from all 24 NATO member and partner states serve in the unit headquarters.
At the beginning of the first expert panel, the Head of the International Security Programme at PISM, Marcin Terlikowski, presented the framework and goals of the joint PISM-NUPI project. Wojciech Lorenz (PISM) analyzed the evolution of Russian policy towards NATO and the EU after the Cold War. He stressed that Russia seeks to establish a new security architecture in Europe and uses a wide array of instruments to advance this goal. They include not only military measures but also exploitation of links between Russia and European countries in the energy sphere. Its role in Russian policy was discussed by Jakub M. Godzimirski (NUPI). The adaptation of NATO’s deterrence and defence policy was a subject of the presentation by Artur Kacprzyk (PISM), who emphasized the need for a more coherent approach to security and defence initiatives on the Alliance’s eastern and northern flanks.
Presentations delivered by PISM and NUPI experts during the second panel served as a starting point for an exchange of views on expected decisions at the NATO summit held in Brussels in July 2018, trends in Alliance defence spending and Norwegian policy toward NATO.