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Northern Grouping Initiative

Volume 518: debated on Tuesday 9 November 2010

The strategic defence and security review made it clear that alliances and partnerships would remain a fundamental part of this Government’s approach to defence and security. We will therefore deepen our multilateral and bilateral defence relationships with key allies. Last week, I informed the House about our deepened relationship with France. As the next step, tomorrow I will have a meeting with the new Northern Grouping which includes Nordic and Baltic nations, as well Poland and Germany. The Northern Grouping will help us build a closer bilateral relationship with Norway, which is one of our key strategic partners. It will create a further framework that makes it easier for Sweden and Finland to have a closer relationship with NATO, and through our involvement as a nuclear power it will reassure the Baltic states about the value of article 5 of the North Atlantic treaty. In a world in which there is a multi-polar power base, we need more different levers to act in the interests of our national security.