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    Sweden's soldiers attend the Aurora 17 military exercise in Gothenburg, Sweden September 13, 2017

    Sweden Eyes Joining French-led European Intervention Initiative - Defence Minister

    © REUTERS / Johan Ahlander
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    STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) - Sweden plans to join the European Intervention Initiative (EII), a joint military project between European nations proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron in September 2017, Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told Sveriges Radio.

    "[Joining the European Intervention Initiative] will provide Sweden with greater security, thanks to the fact that we will enter the international network. In case there is a crisis involving many counties simultaneously, we should be able to interact in such a situation", Hultqvist said in an interview.

    The minister has already told France about the plans of Stockholm. The final decision on Sweden’s participation is due to be made in September.

    According to Hultqvist, participation in the programme does not mean that Sweden will be involved in any military operations.

    "In terms of cooperation, there is nothing that would oblige us [to join military operations]. But we will get an opportunity to influence the discussion and express our position", the minister said.

    The programme was launched back in June 2018. It aims to facilitate "the emergence of a European strategic culture" and to create "pre-conditions to conduct coordinated and jointly prepared future commitments, on the whole spectrum of possible crises", according to the statement released by the French Defence Ministry.

    The initiative involves participation on a voluntary basis and operates outside the framework of the European Union and NATO. The participants are to exchange information and provide military assistance in case of crisis.

    The EII currently includes France, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Finland became the 10th country to join the initiative in late 2018.

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