In a joint statement, the ministers agreed to more actively share their intelligence and monitoring information on maritime threats with each other. This will provide the JEF countries with an improved common picture. They have also vouched to improve coordination of their maritime activities. In addition, joint exercises will focus more on mitigating the threats to critical infrastructure both at sea and in the sea.
“Our critical undersea infrastructure could increasingly become a target. We have witnessed examples in recent months. For example, the Russian ships caught mapping wind farms in the North Sea. At the national and international level we must step up our efforts, together with industry and other armed forces, in order to better protect our cables, pipelines and wind farms. It is vitally important that we, as northern European countries, have made these arrangements,” said Minister of Defence of the Netherlands Kajsa Ollongren.
In addition, a scenario exercise was conducted to demonstrate how the JEF countries should deal with possible incidents and threats. The scenario was designed to develop from an incident in peacetime into a crisis with a role for NATO.
The JEF is a military partnership established to complement NATO and capable of conducting various military activities. The JEF focuses primarily on northern Europe. This covers the area from the North Atlantic in the west to the High North and the Baltic Sea region to the east. The JEF is led by the United Kingdom. Other participating nations are: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.
The JEF has been operational since 2018.