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European Integration in the Field of Regional Security Using the Example of NORDEFCO

Kozlova Olesya Andreevna

Student, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, senior Research Fellow at the European Policy Studies Department at the E.M. Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences

117198, Russia, Moscow, Miklukho-Maklaya str., 17 k1

15oakoza2020@gmail.com
Khezzekova Kamilla Torekulovna

Student, Department of Theory and History of International Relations, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia

117198, Russia, Moscow, Moscow, Miklukho-Maklaya str., 17 k1

Khezzekova@mail.ru

DOI:

10.7256/2454-0668.2023.2.39891

EDN:

BRTWCW

Received:

04-03-2023


Published:

28-03-2023


Abstract: The subject of the study is the integration processes of regional security in the European space, based on the research papers of B. Buzan and O. Weaver. The paper looks at different alliances of European countries with a view to achieving cooperation on point areas common to a particular region. The chosen topic is explored through the prism of the Copenhagen School of Security theories, especially those of the regional security complex and securitisation. One of the trends in contemporary international relations is regionalisation in the field of international security. An understanding of this process will therefore make it possible to anticipate the development of state policy towards intergovernmental organisations. The focus of the scholarly article is on analysing the functioning of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO), as the association of the Nordic countries serves as a model for effective progressive integration in the Nordic region. The progress of the organisation is to broaden the notion of security for political action. It now includes threats and challenges not only of a military defence nature, but also of an economic, environmental, legal, social and ethno-political nature. The scientific novelty of the study lies in the identification and analysis of Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) in the context of a regional security subcomplex, namely in identifying further prospects for this integration group in enhancing the defence capabilities of its member states. NORDEFCO acted as a structural prototype for many European defence alliances. However, Nordic defence cooperation has not become an alternative to NATO in Northern Europe, as evidenced by Sweden and Finland's application to join the North Atlantic Alliance in 2022. Consequently, the Nordic states have not finally achieved autonomy in establishing their own security system in the region.


Keywords:

NORDEFCO, NATO, securitization theory, regional security complex, regional security, defence cooperation, regional association, integration processes, European region, Nordic countries

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction.In the modern world, the development of globalization is accompanied by an increase in the dynamics of regionalization.

This process is due to a decrease in the level of interference of global powers in the internal affairs of other countries, as well as an increase in the number of integration processes of a regional nature. At the regional level, States are united by a greater number of factors than at the global level. Consequently, scientists in their works began to separate the actions taking place at the global and regional levels. In the theory of international relations, the concept of "regional security complex" appeared, developed by researchers at the Copenhagen School of Security B. Buzan and O. Waver. This concept creates a certain community based on several States of the same territory, it allows you to identify security problems and solutions specific to a particular region. A significant number of integration processes in the field of international security have taken place in Europe. One such example is the Nordic Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), created to strengthen the national defense of the Nordic countries. However, does the reason for the emergence of this organization confirm the theory of the regional security complex? Then the effectiveness of solving international security problems will directly depend on their elimination at the local and regional levels.

The main provisions of the theory of the regional security complexThe concept of a "regional security complex" appeared within the framework of the theory of securitization.

According to its concept, any threat presented by the actor's action or by himself becomes existential for the subject to whom it was declared. Securitization is based on three roots: the theory of speech acts (the public announcement of a problem that the public should accept as its own), the Schmittian concept of security (the authoritarianism of political decisions in security issues proceeds from legitimization, which leads to the need for emergency actions) and the policy of exceptions, the traditionalists' debate about security [1, p. 213]. If the object of securitization is a threat or danger, then the subject can be any actor capable of declaring it on a scale. But mostly they are leaders of the political elite, lobbyists or authoritative persons of the pressure group [1, p. 214]. When the problem is securitized, exceptional measures are put forward to eliminate it, because it has acquired high importance. Securitization is not an arbitrary process, but a directed action caused by many, but rather certain factors. The concept of a regional security complex stems from the theory of securitization, which determines its constructivist component. In it, not only political, but also social processes form security problems. An essential role is played by the concept of identity, which allows you to separate your own from someone else's. However, this paradigm is also characterized by the peculiarities of political realism, which is expressed in the factors of territoriality and polarity of the forces operating in the region.

The international system contains many security complexes, i.e. "groups of States whose main security problems are so strongly interconnected that their national interests cannot be considered separately from each other" [2, p. 106], which are constantly subject to integration at the regional level. The national security of the country is not self-sufficient, because it cannot be investigated outside the context of regional and global processes. However, the whole globe is not sufficiently united in terms of international security. Thus, as a result of the "merging" of interstate borders in the field of security, it leads to the formation of cooperation in the field of political and military-strategic aspects of security [3, p. 3]. One of them is the regional level, in the space of which the relationship between the actors is strong, which leads to a more accurate study of the processes taking place in it. The regional security complex is formed on the basis of geographical proximity between the active forces, since overcoming threats at short distances is easier than at long distances. It acts as a substructural component of the international system, where States are linked by a high degree of interdependence in the field of security and the principle of determining other actors of the system through the prism of "friend-enemy".

B. Buzan and O. Waver have developed a structure for a clear identification of the regional security complex, which includes: 1) the boundary of the complex separating it from its neighbors; 2) an anarchic system involving the inclusion of more than one autonomous unit in the complex; 3) polarity affecting the distribution of power in the region; 4) social construction the actors' identical understanding of the concept of "friendship-enmity" [4, p. 53]. These provisions make it possible to identify regional security complexes in the international system, classify them and determine their internal and external changes. Scientists have identified centered and standard security complexes, supercomplexes and regional security complexes of the great powers, as well as subcomplexes, protocomplexes and precomplexes. The standard security complex represents the Westphalian form of unification, which includes interactions between regional actors, excluding the participation of great powers in them. A centered security complex differs from a standard one by having a great power or a superpower as a political dominant. But there is also another form of it, where the region is formed by collective institutions created by states and gaining political strength. The supercomplex acts as a stable interregional level with one or more great powers or superpowers. It is based on regional security complexes, i.e. associations specific to a particular region and comprising great Powers. However, the processes in them have an impact on the balance of power at the global level. The basis of the precomplexes are bilateral relations in the field of security, which allows them to have the potential to create a regional complex, but it is insufficient to establish cross-links between its actors. The difference of the protocomplex lies in the weakness of regional dynamics, but it also has the interconnection of its internal units in the field of security [4, pp. 55-56]. In theory, regional security complexes should not be layered on top of each other. An actor can only be in one association, with the exception of subcomplexes formed as a system within a regional security complex, an example of which is the European space. There are a sufficient number of different forms of integration within it, creating prototypes of regional security subcomplexes.

Features of the integration of European countries in the field of security on the examples of regional associations.

According to the theory of B. Buzan and O. Waver, there are nine regional security complexes in the world, one of which is Europe. In its space, the main integration associations are the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, but there is an insufficient number of security institutions operating inside them, for example, there is no permanent European army. The OSCE places greater emphasis in its activities on solving legal issues. Moreover, in the EU, European states are at different levels of integration and do not always fully agree with its course of central policy. These circumstances influenced the emergence of "overlapping regions" [5] and regional security subcomplexes. The causal foundation of their appearance is not only the geopolitical factor in the form of a regional territory, but also the common values and identity of the vision of security threats. Consequently, the actors seek to create a regional association whose activities will be formed based primarily on national interests through close cooperation based on mutual trust.

Recent political decisions of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine have predetermined the creation of the Lublin Triangle, which represents a subcomplex of regional security. It began on March 18, 2021 with the signing of the protocol on practical issues of bilateral cooperation in international and regional politics and security, on cooperation between Ukraine and Lithuania within the framework of international and regional organizations, on the need to continue Lithuania's efforts in implementing Ukraine's strategic goals regarding the acquisition of membership in the EU and NATO [6]. Trilateral integration was based on the commonality of the historical past with reference to the Union of Lublin and the creation of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1569, for the full reproduction of which Belarus lacks participation. The countries of the Lublin Triangle have rallied on the basis of anti-Russian sentiments, which are increasing in their foreign policy. This block is aimed at strengthening the leadership positions of Poland and Lithuania in the Eastern Partnership, deepening Ukraine's integration into the EU and NATO, developing counteractions to modern security threats, expanding the composition of the Lublin Triangle and spreading US influence in the region, which reflects the main values that unite the countries in the regional security subcomplex.

Central Europe is also characterized by the development of regional defense cooperation, as evidenced by the emergence of the Central European Defense Initiative (CEDI). In 2010, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia created this platform aimed at strengthening regional security within the framework of the EU and NATO PFP, but focusing on the regional interests of the participating countries. The effectiveness of the Central European Defense Initiative (CEDI) is determined by the equality of partners in terms of their capabilities and resources, freedom from the institutional framework of any community and common national interests to form a stable bloc. Thanks to the cooperation of the Central European States, a number of projects have been implemented. A Multinational Logistics Center (MLCC) was organized within the Central European Defense Initiative, the Smart Defense program was developed, the accumulated experience was exchanged through the Train the Trainers and Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT) projects, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear surveillance (CBRN) and an unmanned surveillance system were organized in order to reducing risks for operators and increasing their flexibility [7, p. 18]. The most successful result of cooperation is COOPSEC, i.e. international military exercises held in 2017 and 2019 dedicated to the collective solution of the problems of the migration crisis and the role of military forces in it. During the implementation of the project, the coordination of the Ministries of Defense of the participating countries was improved, as well as multinational armed forces and police were created to eliminate common regional security threats. The active creation of regional security communities in Europe began back in the 1990s, which was due to the elimination of the stable state of international relations in the conditions of bipolar confrontation of the great powers. In 1991, the European Security Forum within the Weimar Triangle was formed through Germany, France and Poland. So, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Estonia in a short period of time created integration associations as the Nordic Cooperation on Armaments (NORDAC and the Northern Coordination Organization of Military Peacekeeping Operations (NORDCAPS), in 1994, with the help of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the Baltic Defense Cooperation (BDC) was founded. The four associations formed within the framework of the BDC (BALTBAT, BALTNET, BALTRON and BALDEFCOL) became a "dress rehearsal" for the creation of military associations of the Baltic states [8, p. 135]. A larger association in the same region was the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), which included Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Poland and the European Commission. The activities of the intergovernmental forum, established in 1992, are aimed at organizing a "safe region" [9, p. 41]. The Council of the Baltic Sea States develops nonmilitary areas of international security - the elimination of dangerous nuclear and radiation facilities and resistance to their proliferation; ensuring civil protection during natural disasters; solving the problem of human trafficking and violence against them; combating international terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration; destroying drug trafficking; achieving environmental safety.

The institutional framework for Nordic cooperation consists of two main bodies: the Nordic Council (NC) and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) for intergovernmental cooperation. However, despite the fact that foreign and security policy issues are discussed in both bodies, foreign and security policy is not included in their mandates. In this cooperation, the main actors are the Foreign Ministries of the Nordic countries. This cooperation is based on a format called the "Northern Five" (N5) after the name of the five northern states. This platform is the "engine" of cooperation between the Nordic countries of security policy. The structure of the above-mentioned organizations is a kind of support for the distribution of rights and obligations between the participating countries and for maintaining political stability in the region. The Nordic Council and the Council of Ministers of the Nordic Countries stabilize socio-economic and cultural relations between the Scandinavian countries, and also take an active part in the activities of other European countries, for example: the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Arctic Council (AC). The activities of the organizations are aimed at developing a general policy of environmental safety in the region [10, p. 245]. However, a significant part of the work of defense ministers is focused on the coordination of defense cooperation of the Nordic countries under the auspices of the Northern Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO) [11, p. 11].

A sufficient number of integration associations in the field of security at the regional level of the European Space indicate current trends in the continuation of the formation of subcomplexes and the development of existing ones:

Deepening of cross-country differences in threat assessment.

The orientation of the defense policy of states towards self-identification within a certain region.

Optimization of military expenditures of states through regional defense unification.

Strengthening the integration of countries based on geographical and historical and cultural characteristics of the regions.

Maintaining the state of absence of a single military threat to the entire European space.

Moving away from the cumbersome bureaucracy of European institutions of international and national security.

Expanding the concepts of international and regional security, which include problems related not only to the military direction, but also to ecology, economy, ethnopolitical conflicts, migration and the protection of human rights.

The importance of the activities of the Northern Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO) for security in the Northern Europe region.After the end of the cold war, military cooperation between the Nordic countries developed gradually.

Most of this cooperation is related to the Arctic, whose strategic importance has increased dramatically in the last decade. The Nordic countries are culturally almost identical, because historically they have worked closely together in almost all other spheres of life. During the Cold War, due to the divergence of the security doctrines of the five countries, military issues were excluded from the Scandinavian forums. So in 1949 Denmark, Iceland (the only NATO member that does not have military forces, this was one of the conditions for the country's entry into the organization) and Norway founded and joined the North Atlantic Alliance. Sweden and Finland preferred to preserve their territorial integrity, but are currently strategic partners of NATO. In 1995, Sweden and Finland joined Denmark as EU members, while Norway decided to remain neutral. Nevertheless, Norway takes an active part in the field of defense and security of EU countries. For example, in EU military operations in Africa. With regard to Norway's neighbors, Denmark and Iceland, Denmark adheres to a neutral status, since it refused to participate in the EU's foreign and security policy. After the financial crisis from 2008-2011 Iceland has weakened, becoming a less attractive country for the EU. All five States participate in one way or another in regional organizations, such as the Arctic Council, the Barents Council and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. Being a flexible tool that combines money savings with an extensive program of actions, ranging from joint exercises and training to procurement of military equipment, NORDEFCO is considered as an excellent example of "smart" defense [12, p. 3].

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, which merged in 2009 into the Northern Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), have passed a special way of becoming a regional security subcomplex. The first attempt to create a Scandinavian Defensive Alliance, initiated by Swedish Prime Minister Tage Fridtjof Erlander, was carried out by Norway, Denmark and Sweden in 1948-1949 through negotiations in Karlstadt, Copenhagen and Oslo [13, p. 30]. However, the different positions of the countries regarding the understanding of the concept of neutrality and the models of their interaction with each other and Western states in the field of international security did not lead to the proper result in the formation of the association. The failure to create the alliance was also due to the refusal of the United States to supply it with weapons, as well as the rather serious scale of the Soviet threat. But during the Cold War, cooperation between the Nordic countries developed in other directions. In 1952, the passport Union was established, and in 1954 the common labor market. The Nordic Council, formed in 1962, and the Council of Ministers, founded in 1971, became the functional basis for the integration of the Scandinavian States. The stages of unification took place during the birth of Nordicness, i.e. Scandinavian identity, which was accepted by citizens of all five countries. It was also approved by residents of other states that Fr. Waver explained the lower level of military tension in Northern Europe compared to the center of the continent, a special social model embodying the balance between socialism and capitalism, as well as the anti-militarist mood of society [14, p. 1164]. However, the factor of Scandinavian identity was not enough to deepen the collaboration. The plan to create a single market failed in the 1950s, and the Northern Economic Society (NORDEK) in 1970, as well as the first attempts to form unified institutions of regional security. Being at different levels of integration into NATO and the EEC, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland could not come to a compromise in military and economic directions. Moreover, Finland was connected with the Soviet Union, after the self-liquidation of which a new world order was established, which influenced the cooperation of the Scandinavian states.

In addition to the aforementioned disagreements on perceived threats, the Scandinavian countries developed other aspects of their security policy during the Cold War that distinguished them from other Western countries. Despite the ambivalent policy towards alliances, the Nordic countries managed to develop a common approach to security at several levels. First, cooperation was established in the United Nations regarding UN peacekeeping operations, in which the Nordic countries took an active part. Secondly, all the northern states tried not to pursue policies that could have a significant negative impact on the security of the region. Thus, the four countries sought to ensure that there were no foreign military bases and nuclear weapons in the region. They considered "security" in a broader sense of the word than just military. The meaning of security can cover wording that goes beyond the military security of the state [15, p. 5].

NORDEFCO was built on previously created associations NORDAMFN (1963; trilateral cooperation agreement within the framework of UN peacekeeping), NORDBERFN (1964; quadrilateral agreement on participation in UN missions and operations), NORDAC (1994; multilateral agreement on industrial cooperation in the field of defense weapons), NORDCAPS (1997; multilateral agreement on a new format for training and formation of a peacekeeping contingent from the UN), NORDSUP (2008; decision to create a single integrated system of military infrastructure and procurement of common types of weapons and military products in order to reduce the financial costs of national defense of each of the Nordic countries). The official documents that laid the foundation for the Northern Defense cooperation were the Memorandum of Understanding of November 11, 2008, and the Report on the thirteen proposals of the North. Stoltenberg dated February 9, 2009 [16] and the Declaration of Solidarity of the Scandinavian Countries adopted in Helsinki in 2011. The formation of this subcomplex of regional security of the Nordic countries was predetermined not only by their geographical proximity, but by Scandinavian identity, common values, interests and problems, as well as the spirit of solidarity in the field of foreign policy. The common socio-ideological structure of the states is reflected in the main goal of NORDEFCO strengthening the national defense of the participating countries, exploring common synergies and promoting effective common solutions. However, the main motive for the unification of the Nordic countries was the economic factor. Spending in the field of security and national defense is constantly growing, due to the development of technology. Therefore, achieving economic efficiency is possible through cooperation in various fields. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland sought not only to create a zone of reliable security from Northern Europe, but also to preserve the Scandinavian identity in political actions and come to a common economic benefit.

The intergovernmental organization NORDEFCO with a minimal bureaucratic structure is built on political and military cooperation. The Member States participate in the activities of the Northern Defense Cooperation at all levels, with the exception of Iceland, which is integrated only in the political direction. NORDEFCO is headed by the defense ministers of the Nordic countries, whose meetings should take place twice a year. The Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Defense are required to hold meetings once a year. The day-to-day work at the political level is carried out by the Political Steering Committee (PSC), consisting of four departments for policy, operations, capabilities and weapons, as well as a Secretariat acting as an executive body. At the military level, defense chiefs arrange at least two meetings a year for negotiations with the Military Coordination Committee (MCC) and the Directors of National Armament. Certain NORDEFCO projects and activities are developed by the Military Cooperation Departments (COPA) that carry out the instructions of the Military Coordination Committee (MCC). Within the framework of the military direction of the Northern Defense Cooperation, five zones were organized COPA ARMA (armament and military industry), COPA CAPA (development of military potential), COPA HRE (human resources and military training), COPA TEX (coordination of military training), COPA OPS (operations and organization of logistical support). Each department consists of working groups focused on the implementation of specific projects (NORDEFCO Annual Report, 2019, p. 8-9). The absence of an extensive structure of institutions within the organization confirms the format of its existence, because it was created as a forum for cooperation, and not a supranational unit with mandatory enforcement bodies to implement the decisions developed by it.

Each year, NORDEFCO is chaired by one of the participating countries, which determines the accents in the activities of the association. The permanent direction of work is the organization of military exercises, which take place weekly. The Association of Northern European Countries provides not only military training, but also military education through centers and courses (Baltic Defense College). The most successful programs in this area of steel Cross Border Training, developed in 2009, and 2019 Arctic Challenge Exercise (ACE 19). They made it possible to achieve high-quality cooperation in improving air operations. Thanks to the collaboration in the field of armament and logistical support, NORDEFCO strives to strengthen the overall military potential of the member States, as well as to reduce military expenditures. One of the most significant results of the Northern Defense Cooperation was the agreement reached in November 2012 on the creation of a joint fleet of military transport aircraft [14, p. 1172].

At the autumn session, colleagues from neighboring Baltic countries are invited once a year, translating the discussions into the NB8 format (five Nordic countries plus three Baltic countries Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia). One of the constituent aspects of the Nordic countries' cooperation in the field of defense is how responsibilities are distributed among the participating countries. So Sweden is responsible for "strategic development", Finland is responsible for "military potential", Denmark is responsible for "human resources and education", Norway and finally Sweden is responsible for "healthcare" [12, p. 7].

Obtaining highquality defense products was carried out by establishing cooperation between NORDEFCO and industrial enterprises of Northern Europe, such as - FAD (Danish defense and security industries association), AFDA (Association of Finnish defense and aerospace industries), SOFF (Swedish security and defense industry) and FSI (Forsvars- og sikkerhetsindustriens forening). However, the project for the purchase of common types of weapons turned out to be economically unprofitable, which led to its failure, as well as the creation of joint military-industrial complexes. Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland (with the exception of Iceland, which does not have a national army and a military-industrial complex, therefore, the country's military expenditures are not taken into account) have not come to optimize military spending, which has only increased over time, as evidenced by the table below from the official website of the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research (SIPRI).

Table 1. Military expenditures by country for the period 2017-2021, in millions of US dollars A country

2017

20182019

2020

2021

Norway

6853

7541

7542

7270

8252

Denmark

3764

4559

4557

4980

5391

Sweden

5527

5733

5840

6271

7887

Finland

3431

3757

3630

4088

5904

Iceland

-

-

-

-

-

(See: Military expenditure by country, in constant (2019) US$ m., 1988 2020 (see below for 1999 2020).

However, the growth of economic costs in the military sphere was due to the Georgian and Ukrainian conflicts and the escalation of contradictions between Russia, the United States and the EU. The events of 2008 and 2014 influenced the strengthening of the integration of the Scandinavian countries in the field of regional security. Secure communication lines were established between the Ministries of Defense and the headquarters of the armed forces of the Nordic countries. In 2016, an Agreement on Simplified Access (Easy Access Agreement) was signed, which provides the armed forces of NORDEFCO with access to the water, air and land space of the member States in peacetime. The exchange of aerial reconnaissance data was agreed upon through the NORECAS (Nordic Enhanced Cooperation on Air Surveillance) Agreement of 2017 [17]. Moreover, in 2018, the NORDEFCO Development Strategy for the period up to 2025 was adopted, the important points of which were strengthening transatlantic ties and strengthening dialogue with the Baltic countries in order to counter the possible threat from Russia (NORDEFCO Annual Report, 2018, p. 18). The Northern Defense Cooperation strives for reliable security in the Baltic Sea, which it has achieved in the waters of Iceland.

Within the framework of cooperation, the Nordic countries participate in military operations outside their region. In 2018, Denmark, Norway and Sweden supported the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by providing tactical air transport. Scandinavian states are sending military advisers to Kenya to assist the East African Reserve Force (EASF). NORDEFCO also provides advisory support to Georgia under the North Baltic Assistance Program (NBAP) to strengthen defense capabilities in third countries. From 2020, it is planned to integrate the Northern Defense Cooperation into Operation Barkhan, the UN Mission in Iraq (NMI, OIR) and the deployment of actions in the Sahel region (NORDEFCO Annual Report, 2019, p. 15). However, NORDEFCO has identified a number of existential threats for the Scandinavian public that are not related to military policy and national defense, but pose a danger to the lives of the population of the Nordic countries. A new area of cooperation was opened in the field of cybersecurity in order to study and prevent the factors of information and hybrid warfare. The working Group was established at the military level in 2020 (Computer Emergency Response Teams CERTs). The Scandinavian states laid particular importance on the understanding of environmental safety, which influenced the shift of the NORDEFCO guideline to the search for approaches to reducing the carbon footprint from military activities. Seminars and consultation meetings are being actively held to achieve eco-friendly defense, mitigate the negative human impact on the climate, reduce financial costs and energy consumption. The development of high technologies in the military sphere by the Nordic countries will be able to contribute to the full transition to the use of renewable energy sources. The consequences of increased threats to environmental safety have affected all regions of the world, especially the Arctic, which has become an important item in the annual NORDEFCO program. At the present stage, there is no international treaty defining the legal status of the Arctic. But the Northern Defense Cooperation seeks to establish security in this region, which is confirmed by its observation, research and conducting military exercises within its borders.

Security at any level is directly related to human protection, as evidenced by the theory of securitization of the Copenhagen School of Security. Awareness of the connection between individual security and international security is also at the heart of NORDEFCO's activities. Since 2009, cooperation between the Nordic countries in the field of civil protection has been deepening. The process began with the joint declaration of the Scandinavian Ministers (Haga Declaration), which called for joint efforts to strengthen civil protection and emergency preparedness [18, pp. 57-58]. At that time, special rescue services of the Northern Defense Cooperation were created to prevent and limit the consequences of accidents, natural disasters and other emergencies in society. Joint exercises and trainings of rescue services (for example, "Skagex" solving problems of rescue at sea), crisis communication with the population, situational studies and the use of volunteers have become essential components of work in the direction of civil protection. Another format of cooperation within the framework of NORDEFCO was the Northern Cooperation for the Protection of the Population (NORDRED), which led to the intensification of the exchange of information between the Northern European states concerning the prevention of manifestations of extremism. All actions of the Northern Defense Cooperation are aimed at creating a region without borders through various areas of integration in order to achieve a high level of security for the citizens of the participating countries.

Sweden and Finland are potential NATO membersOn February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation began conducting a special military operation (hereinafter referred to as SVO) on the territory of Ukraine.

In this regard, Sweden and Finland renounced their neutrality and applied to join the North Atlantic Alliance NATO. Finland has maintained its neutral status for 75 years [19]. However, in fact Finland has not adhered to neutrality for at least 30 years, because in 1992, with the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, it joined the European Union (EU).

After the Russian Federation began its policy, Finland, including Sweden, will no longer remain "Finlandized" (a Cold War term that meant that Finland would never take sides in the confrontation between the West and the then Soviet Union, which in turn would allow Finland to remain independent) [2-, p. 92]. Sweden and Finland are a geostrategic advantage for NATO, because Finland borders the Russian Federation for more than 400 km. It has a well-trained military force that can be quickly drafted into the army. Also, Finland has a special military potential operating in the Arctic region. Geographically, Finland has access to the Baltic Sea, respectively, and to the Russian Federation. Sweden has one of the strongest armed contingents in Northern Europe, as well as military experience in the Arctic. It also has access to the Baltic Sea. In this context, such an arrangement of the two countries is the total control of NATO over the armed forces of the Russian Federation.

So at the end of June 2022, at the NATO summit in Madrid, Sweden and Finland received an invitation to join the Alliance, the leaders of the NATO countries agreed to increase the number of alliance troops in high readiness from 40,000 to 300,000 [20, p. 94]. Most of the rapid reaction forces will be based in NATO countries. The member countries have not announced which forces will be transferred to NATO command. For the first time, the countries of the Asian continent were invited to the summit: Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, which indicates the growing attention of NATO to the Asian region. However, despite the growing possibility of Sweden and Finland joining, Turkey and Hungary initially voted against, although not so long ago in early March 2023, Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that Hungary would ratify Sweden and Finland's applications to join the alliance.

However, Turkey is categorically determined, because of the Kurdish issue and the events connected not so long ago with the burning of the Holy Koran at the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Stockholm by the Danish lawyer and politician Rasmus Paludan on January 21, 2023. Such a protest action caused a huge public outcry throughout the Muslim Ummah. As for the Kurdish issue, the Swedish and Finnish authorities have assured the Turkish side that they, by joining together, will be able to resist international terrorism, and that they will also resist the terrorism of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (hereinafter PKK) and extradite them to Turkey. Despite the "comprehensive" actions by Western countries: the EU and the United States to include the PKK in the list of terrorist organizations, this did not lead to a positive result. The Finnish side claims that this does not provide for obligations in international law. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said that the Swedish side would never extradite anyone. In other words, if a person does not conduct terrorist activities, then he does not need to worry. Thus, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan assured that he could not ratify the applications for joining NATO of Sweden and Finland if they did not come to a common consensus.

Conclusion.

In modern realities, there are many subcomplexes of regional security in the European space, the existence of which was due to the trend of regionalization occurring in parallel with globalization. The integration associations represented by the Lublin Triangle, the Central European Defense Initiative (CEDI), the Weimar Triangle, the Baltic Defense Cooperation (BDC), the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), as well as the Benelux, the Visegrad Group and other organizations were created on the basis of the geopolitical factor, the historical and cultural characteristics of the region, the self-identification of states through their own understanding of security, aspirations to reduce economic costs through cooperation and to move away from the cumbersome institutions of supranational structures. The prototype for many European regional security subcomplexes were various cooperation projects of the Scandinavian countries, which predetermined the emergence of the Northern Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO), which included Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. The activities of the association include not only the military sphere and national defense, but also environmental, information and civil security of the population, because NORDEFCO is primarily aimed at protecting people. The Northern Defense Cooperation received a special impetus in the period 2008-2014, when the United States and European countries identified the Russian threat. After that, the military potential of NORDEFCO increased, and cooperation strengthened. These improvements were influenced by the reorientation of Sweden and Finland towards NATO. Political differences between the member states, the main reason for which was the significantly different level of integration of the Scandinavian countries into the EU and NATO structures, have decreased. On May 18, 2022, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO, which was due to the start of their own in Ukraine. Turbulence in international relations determined the choice of Sweden and Finland to become part of NATO's collective security. Despite the fact that the achievements of NORDEFCO in the field of regional security are of particular importance for Northern Europe, the Northern Defense Cooperation has not become an alternative to NATO, but only a complement with the nature of subordination. Consequently, the Scandinavian countries failed to form an independent defense association to establish their own security system in Northern Europe without the influence of extra-regional actors. The created security subcomplex performs the functions of NATO only partially, providing protection of people from internal threats, but not from external ones. NATO remains a key player in ensuring security in Europe and in the transatlantic space. Therefore, all security subcomplexes in the region are integrated into the North Atlantic Alliance system.

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Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the peer-reviewed study is regional associations of states in order to ensure their own security. A topic whose relevance, perhaps, will always be quite high. The theoretical basis of the study was the concept of the "regional security complex" by B. Buzan, O. Waver and other researchers. The author pays a lot of attention to the disclosure of key concepts and provisions of the basic theory, saying practically nothing about the methodology used. From the context, it can be understood that in addition to traditional general scientific analytical methods, systemic and institutional approaches were used, as well as some elements of conceptual analysis. The correct application of these methodological tools allowed the author to obtain results with signs of scientific novelty. First of all, the conclusion on the insufficient effectiveness of the Northern Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO) is of scientific interest, which is supported, in particular, by the decision of Sweden and Finland to join NATO. In addition, it is interesting to conclude that until recently there were political differences between NORDEFCO members due to the different levels of their integration into this organization. Finally, it should be noted that the author deduced a consequence from the results of the analysis on the preservation of NATO's functions as a key element of ensuring security not only in the transatlantic space, but also in Europe. Structurally, the reviewed article makes a positive impression: its logic is consistent and reflects the main aspects of the conducted research. The following sections are highlighted in the text: - "Introduction", where a scientific problem is formulated and its relevance is justified; - "The main provisions of the theory of the regional security complex", which provides a brief overview of the scientific literature and defines the conceptual framework of the study; - "Features of the integration of European countries in the field of security on the examples of regional associations", which analyzes several cases of regional security associations in order to identify the main trends in their formation; - "The importance of the activities of the Northern Defense Cooperation (NORDEFCO) for security in the Northern Europe region", where, in fact, the main tasks of the article are solved identifying the specifics of regional integration in Europe in order to ensure collective security; - "Sweden and Finland are potential NATO members", where, based on an analysis of the reasons for Sweden and Finland's aspirations to NATO, the limited results of NORDEFCO's functioning are shown; - "Conclusion", which summarizes the results of the conducted research and draws conclusions. For the future, the author can be recommended to link the sections more clearly with each other, since at first glance the section "Sweden and Finland are potential NATO members" seems redundant compared to the initial research tasks, and only after reading the final part do you understand what this section was written for; those conclusions that are formulated in the "Conclusion", there are none in the mentioned section. From the point of view of style, the reviewed article leaves a difficult impression. On the one hand, the style is quite scientific. But on the other hand, there are a considerable number of stylistic ones in the text (for example, dots after some section headings in the text; or expressions that are not very successful from the point of view of style: "scientists in works [which works are we talking about? note. rec.] began to divide...", "the concept creates [exactly creates? Doesn't describe it? note. rec.] a certain community", "the whole Globe [is it really supposed to be about the "Globe" as an astronomical/geometric object? note. rec.] is not strongly united in relation to international security", etc.; or an unfinished proposal with an unclear status "However, does the reason for the emergence of this organization confirm the theory of a regional security complex"; another example of such an unfinished proposal: "But there is also another form of it, where the region is formed by collective institutions created by states and gaining political strength"; etc.) and grammatical (for example, the uncoordinated sentence "So as a result of the "merger" of interstate borders in the field of security leads to the formation of cooperation in the field of political and military-strategic aspects of security"; or an unnecessary dash in the sentence "One of them is the regional level ..."; or the absence of a comma separating the introductory construction "According to the theory of B. Buzan and O. Waver, there are ... in the world"; or the separate spelling of "not" with the verb "to get" in the meaning of "not enough": "... For the full reproduction of which there is no Belarus' participation is enough"; or incorrect punctuation marks in the sentence "After the Russian Federation began its policy, Finland, including Sweden, will no longer remain "Finlandized" (a term from the Cold War...)"; or the absence of a comma after the particle "so" in the meaning of "really" in the sentence: "So at the end of June 2022.... Sweden and Finland received an invitation to join the Alliance..."; there is also an error in the agreement of the words "invitation to join"; etc.) errors. There are also semantic errors, for example: "Finland borders the Russian Federation for more than 400 km. [...] Geographically, Finland has access to the Baltic Sea, respectively, and to the Russian Federation" (is not "more than 400 km" of the joint border sufficient for Finland "access to the Russian Federation", which required mentioning access to the Baltic Sea?) Another example: "In this context, such an arrangement of the two countries is the total control of NATO over the armed forces of the Russian Federation" (it is hardly possible to talk about "total control of NATO over the armed forces of the Russian Federation", based only on the fact of Sweden and Finland joining NATO). However, in general, the text is written more or less competently, in an acceptable scientific language, with the correct use of scientific terminology. In the future, the author should read the text more carefully for stylistic, grammatical and other errors. The bibliography includes 20 titles and sufficiently represents the state of research on the subject of the article. However, there are a number of errors in its design. First of all, it remains unclear why in a Russian-language journal to translate the names of Russian-language sources into English, while also making a note "(In Russ.)" (for example, an article by Yu.I. Nadtochei published in the journal "Bulletin of MGIMO University" in Russian, in the bibliographic list is given in English translation language: Nadtochey Y.I. DEFENSE COOPERATION IN EUROPE: SUBREGIONAL LEVEL. MGIMO Review of International Relations. 2016;(3(48)):134-143. ( In Russ.) https://doi.org/10.24833/2071-8160-2016-3-48-134-143 the same applies to the article by N.E. Belukhin in the journal International Analytics, etc.) In addition, a significant disadvantage is the lack of unification in the design of sources; for example, journal articles in some In some cases, they are issued according to one standard ("Municipal World.-2009.-No. 4"), in other cases according to another ("MGIMO Review of International Relations. 2016;(3(48)):134-143"), thirdly, to the third ("Irish Studies in International Affairs, 9, 55-60"). This approach is no good. BEFORE the PUBLICATION of the article, it is necessary to eliminate errors in the design of the bibliographic list. An appeal to opponents takes place when discussing the conceptual framework of the study. GENERAL CONCLUSION: the article proposed for review can be qualified as a scientific work that meets the basic requirements for works of this kind. The results obtained in the course of the research correspond to the subject of the journal "National Security / nota bene" and will be of interest to political scientists, political sociologists, regional scientists, specialists in the field of public administration, world politics and international relations, as well as for students of these specialties. According to the results of the review, the article is recommended for publication AFTER the ELIMINATION of the comments expressed in the review.