EU Defence Article

The EU Ambassador to Iceland, H.E. Lucie Samcová-Hall Allen, wrote an interesting op-ed on May 28, 2024 published in Varðberg.

The op-ed provides an in-depth look at the upcoming Schuman Security and Defence Forum and the critical role of EU-Iceland cooperation in addressing contemporary security challenges. Ambassador Samcová-Hall Allen’s perspectives highlight the importance of unity, multilateralism, and shared values in fostering global peace and security.

Read on for Ambassador Samcová-Hall Allen's comprehensive analysis and reflections.

Between 28 and 29 May 2024 the EU will host its second edition of the Schuman Security and Defence Forum in Brussels, which brings together high-level representatives of the EU, EU Member States, and nearly 60 partner countries, international and regional organisations, as well as leading think-tanks and academia. The Schuman Forum is the EU’s main platform for decision makers and shapers to discuss shared interests and common challenges to shed light on how the EU and its partners can, together, deliver on global peace and security. The EU welcomes that Iceland will be represented at a Ministerial level through the presence of Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir.

When Russia brought war back to Europe with its brutal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, we, Europeans, were given a firm proof that power politics are back. The world of today is becoming increasingly multipolar, and less open to multilateral cooperation. In our interconnected world, geographical silos do not exist anymore. Crises and conflicts can spread at the speed of light – what emerges locally, quickly becomes global, with more far-reaching and complex consequences than ever before. This is exactly the reason why the United Nations Charter, multilateralism, and the rules-based international order have been established and firmly remain the key pillars underpinning not only the EU’s foreign policy at large, but also our security and defence engagement.

As we witness rogue states becoming more assertive - the case in point being Russia trying to carve out large swathes of another country’s territory through brutal warfare of military aggression - we are also witnessing and experiencing hybrid weapons of war such as cyberthreats, disinformation campaigns, and the weaponisation of trade or migration.

Iceland is amongst the EU’s closest partners and allies and a key player in the Arctic and North Atlantic region. We share common fundamental interests of ensuring that the region remains safe, peaceful, stable, prosperous, sustainable, and open to trade and unhindered communication.

Increased Russian aggression and military build-up and activity in the region has increased security challenges. It is in our joint interest to work together on issues such as: safeguarding critical infrastructure, protecting submarine communication cables; ensuring maritime and aviation safety; bolstering cybersecurity and data protection; maintaining unhindered access to food, industrial and commercial goods. At the same time we must continue to tackle climate change – a comprehensive threat facing the Arctic region.

These threats are a part of a single security theatre and it is difficult, if not impossible, for each country or organisation to act alone and to address these challenges as they extend well beyond national and maritime borders. The EU firmly believes that these challenges can be more effectively addressed through multilateral cooperation. The EU is committed to a strong partnership with Iceland and other countries in the region as a reliable and a valuable global security partner. Partnerships are essential to safeguarding international peace and security, and by working together, the EU, Iceland and other regional actors are already contributing to achieve this goal.

In June 2023, Iceland and the EU held their first dialogue on security and defence in Reykjavík, establishing a formal platform between the two for discussing developments and opportunities for further cooperation. The second dialogue is due to take place this summer.

The EU supports its partners in the North through multiple measures. With economic and military activities increasing in the region, the EU Satellite Centre (SatCen) offers secured geospatial analysis, which will support efforts to monitor the security situation in the Arctic region, enhancing stability by enabling confidence-building measures and the prevention of unforeseen incidents. Similarly, the EU’s Galileo system already contributes to search and rescue and ensures unlimited and uninterrupted access to navigation services to its partners in the North, enhancing the security of operations in the region. Our satellite systems also monitor environmental and climate change and provide vital data to researchers and authorities to allow for evidence-based policy-making. Iceland enjoys access to the EU’s multiple funding programmes which offer opportunities among other in the domains of cyber sercurity, climate change and renewable energy research, to name a few. The EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) remains ready to support Iceland in case of emergencies, as was the case in October 2023, when EUCPM, upon Icelandic request, dispatched experts to support national authorities in the wake of the Grindavík eruptions. Cooperation through bodies like Frontex is likewise active and growing.

In our on-going dialogue, the EU seeks to engage more with, listen to, and learn from Iceland and Icelandic experts. Iceland is a valued NATO ally with considerable expertise, including for example in the maritime domain and search and rescue. It’s know-how is being utilised in valuable initiative such as de-mining in the context of the war against Ukraine. More generally, Icelandic knowledge in sectors such as renewable energy can be effectively utilised by other European nations. Since the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the EU 27 have drastically reduced its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, secured a greater diversity in energy supply, and rapidly increased renewable energy generation – resulting in more energy produced from wind and solar than from gas for the first time ever. Learning from Iceland’s experience in renewable energy production, we can further improve our energy resilience and thus also increase security, as well as continue our path towards net-zero.

As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the EEA Agreement this year, it is worth recognising that our valuable partnership is not only a highly beneficial trade arrangement but, more importantly, it is a partnership of values. As mirrored in the EU’s motto “United in Diversity”, together we are stronger.

The Schuman Security and Defence Forum takes place in Brussels on 28-20 May 2024. More information can also be found on

What is the Schuman Security & Defence Forum

The Schuman Forum is the EU's main platform for decision makers and shapers to discuss shared interests and common challenges to shed light on how the EU and its partners can, together, deliver on global peace and security.

The 2024 Forum will aim at shedding light on how ongoing and potential peace, security and defence partnerships can respond to the most pressing security threats and challenges and contribute to global peace and security as well as uphold the international rules-based order and multilateralism.

View the Agenda to the 2024 Schuman Security & Defence Forum 

Source: Delegation of the European Union to Iceland, European Union - External Action


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