Recording: Northern European Security: The role of the UK

Launching the UK contribution to security in Northern Europe report as part of RUSI’s transatlantic trilateral security dialogue.

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Launching The UK contribution to security in Northern Europe report as part of RUSI’s transatlantic trilateral security dialogue with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Russia’s February 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine was an inflection point for European security. For the UK, it prompted a ‘refresh’ of its defence and security strategies. The March 2023 Integrated Review Refresh concluded that ‘The most pressing national security and foreign policy priority in the short-to medium term is to address the threat posed by Russia to European security...and denying Russia any strategic benefit from its invasion’. Underpinning this ambition, it committed the UK to ‘lead and galvanise where we have most value to add, giving particular priority…to the contribution we can make in northern Europe as a security actor’.

The UK offers unique value to northern Europe as a security actor as a regional geopolitical heavyweight; the provision of specialist military capabilities, and the geostrategic position of the British homeland in the North Atlantic which is critical to NATO’s new regional defence and reinforcement plans. As such, northern Europe is a ‘transitional theatre’ for the UK, where enhanced engagement now can produce value and strategic advantage for the UK, and its allies, in the future.

The panel discussion considered the following questions:

  • Why has the UK chosen the security of northern Europe as a particular priority and where is the UK best placed to ‘lead’ and ‘galvanise’?
  • How does the US and Norway view the evolving geopolitical situation and the role of the UK?
  • What is the specific contribution that the Joint Expeditionary Force is making to security in northern Europe and how might the JEF develop to address future challenges?
  • What is the UK’s role in the execution of NATO’s regional defence and reinforcement plans?
  • What do northern European states want to see on the agenda for the 2024 NATO Washington Summit?


  • Matt Baugh, Director Euro-Atlantic, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office


  • Matt Baugh, Director Euro-Atlantic, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
  • Rachel Ellehuus, Senior civilian representative of the Secretary of Defense in Europe and Defense Advisor, US Mission to NATO
  • Mette Birkelund O’Connor, Counsellor, Defence and Security, The Norwegian Embassy in London

The discussion was chaired by Ed Arnold, Research Fellow for European Security, RUSI

Event Chaired by

Ed Arnold

Senior Research Fellow, European Security

International Security

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