I visited Stockholm on Wednesday 20 February.
Australia and Sweden have shared values, a common strategic interest in peacekeeping and stabilisation operations and a longstanding history of cooperation on submarines.
I met Swedish Minister for Defence Karin Enstrom.
We discussed possible Swedish involvement in Australia’s Future Submarine project.
The 2009 White Paper outlined the Government’s commitment to acquire 12 new Future Submarines to be assembled in South Australia over the next three decades.
The Future Submarine project will be the largest and most complex Defence project ever undertaken by Australia.
Minister Enstrom and I discussed our respective membership of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and shared partnership with NATO.
We discussed Afghanistan, progress in the transition to Afghan led security responsibility and the post-2014 international commitment to Afghanistan.
Australia and Sweden have strong reasons to cooperate with NATO beyond Afghanistan.
The challenges of international terrorism, nuclear proliferation and maritime security are enduring and reach beyond both Australia and Europe’s immediate region.
I also met State Secretary for Defence Carl von der Esch, Director General of the Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) Lena Erixon, Chair of the Swedish Defence Commission Cecilia Widegren MP and Chair of the Swedish Parliamentary Defence Committee Peter Hultqvist MP.
On my visit to Stockholm I was accompanied by the Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley and the Australian Ambassador to Sweden Gerald Thomson.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392