United States Deploy Artillery, Tanks to Eastern Europe

The United States will permanently deploy artillery and tanks in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama’s defense secretary, announced on Tuesday in a move that is almost certain to upset their former Soviet master, Russia.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, announced earlier that the country would add more than forty intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal to offset NATO deployments in the east.

The deployments are meant to reassure NATO member states that joined the alliance after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The three Baltic states, which have few armed forces of their own, have been especially unnerved by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine in the last year. Read more “United States Deploy Artillery, Tanks to Eastern Europe”

Bittersweet Victory for Denmark’s Right-Wing Bloc

Danish parliament Copenhagen
View of the Christiansborg Palace, seat of the Danish parliament, in Copenhagen (Shutterstock)

Denmark’s right-wing parties eked out a one-seat majority in Thursday’s election, forcing the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, to resign.

But the victory was bittersweet for liberal party leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen. His Venstre lost thirteen seats and was beaten into third place by the nationalist Danish People’s Party, which won 37 seats with 21 percent of the votes. Read more “Bittersweet Victory for Denmark’s Right-Wing Bloc”

Islanders Kingmakers in Danish Parliament

Danish parliament Copenhagen
Windows of the Christiansborg Palace, seat of the Danish parliament, in Copenhagen (iStock/Carsten Brandt)

Exit polls showed Denmark’s left- and right-wing blocs tied on Thursday night and suggested that deputies from the Faroe Islands and Greenland could be kingmakers in the Nordic country’s next parliament.

The poll, shown on TV2, gave Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s coalition 87 seats against 88 for the right-wing opposition.

Such an outcome would hand the balance of power in Denmark’s 179-seat unicameral Folketing to the four representatives of the autonomous Faroe Islands and Greenland. The latter have traditionally aligned with the left while the Faroese tend to split their two seats between the blocs. Read more “Islanders Kingmakers in Danish Parliament”

Social Democrats Likely to Lose Election in Denmark

Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt visits the European Parliament in Brussels, July 3, 2012 (EP)

Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt called early elections on Wednesday, hoping to shore up support for her left-wing coalition. Opinion polls suggest the opposition liberals, supported by the conservatives and nationalist Danish People’s Party, are more likely to come back to power next month.

Thorning-Schmidt, a Social Democrat, had until September to call elections but said on Wednesday it was the “right time” to ask voters if they wanted to stay the course.

Denmark’s first woman prime minister argued that she had led the country of 5.6 million out of an economic crisis with “solidarity.” Read more “Social Democrats Likely to Lose Election in Denmark”

Finnish Right-Wing Coalition Could Take Hard Line in Europe

Finnish party leaders Timo Soini, Juha Sipilä and Alexander Stubb deliver a news conference in Helsinki, May 8
Finnish party leaders Timo Soini, Juha Sipilä and Alexander Stubb deliver a news conference in Helsinki, May 8 (Finnish Government/Sakari Piippo)

Finland’s next coalition government could take a hard line in Europe as the nationalist Finns Party is expected to come to power for the first time.

In an interview with MTV television last week, Finns Party leader Timo Soini suggested that eurozone members who are unable to keep up with deeper integration may have to leave the single-currency union. Asked if he would like to see Greece leave the euro, Soini said, “That would perhaps be the clearest option, for everybody, also for the Greeks.” Read more “Finnish Right-Wing Coalition Could Take Hard Line in Europe”

Finland Deploys Navy as Russian Submarine Suspected

Helsinki Finland
Sundown in Helsinki, Finland, August 9, 2008 (WomEOS)

Finland’s navy said on Tuesday it had dropped three warning charges over an unidentified object in the Nordic country’s territorial waters near the capital, Helsinki.

The incident comes six months after neighboring Sweden scrambled its maritime forces in a hunt for what was suspected to be a Russian submarine in its waters. Read more “Finland Deploys Navy as Russian Submarine Suspected”

Right-Wing Coalition Likely in Finland After Center Party Victory

Sundown in Helsinki, Finland, August 9, 2008
Sundown in Helsinki, Finland, August 9, 2008 (WomEOS)

Finland’s Center Party won the parliamentary election on Sunday while the Euroskeptic Finns Party was projected to narrowly beat Prime Minister Alexander Stubb’s conservative National Coalition into third place.

With the Social Democrats winning only 34 seats in Finland’s 200-seat legislature — down from 42 in the last election — a center-right coalition, including the Finns, seemed most likely to take over from the broad alliance that has governed the Nordic country since 2011. Read more “Right-Wing Coalition Likely in Finland After Center Party Victory”

A Tale of Two Submarines

The news of a suspected foreign submarine in Swedish waters attracted massive media coverage last year. The Swedish Navy, a shadow of its former self after more than a decade of budget cuts, launched an intelligence-gathering operation to secure evidence of the intrusion. In November, the navy presented what it considered to be concrete proof of an intrusion by a foreign submarine. This included sonar tracks and a photograph, both of which had been subjected to detailed technical analysis and were made public.

Last week, the Swedish Navy said that another suspected submarine sighting, in late October, had been dismissed after extensive investigation which found that the suspected vessel was in fact a “workboat.” This second observation was made a full week after the original intelligence-gathering operation concluded and was treated by Swedish defense as a separate event. Read more “A Tale of Two Submarines”

Finland’s Left-Right Coalition Unlikely to Survive Election

With an election less than two weeks away, Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb is turning on his left-wing coalition partners, saying governing with the Social Democrats has been a “traumatic experience.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Stubb argued that his conservative National Coalition Party had been “bound by shackles coming from the left” and that there was no “team play” in the four-party coalition that also includes the Christian Democrats and the Swedish People’s Party.

The Greens withdrew from the government in September when the other parties approved the construction of a new nuclear power plant. Read more “Finland’s Left-Right Coalition Unlikely to Survive Election”

Sweden to Boost Defense, Remilitarize Gotland

HMS Helsingborg corvette
The Swedish Visby class corvette HMS Helsingborg docked in Stockholm, June 7, 2014 (Wikimedia Commons/Einarspetz)

Sweden will raise defense spending €680 million over the next five years and put troops back on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, its defense minister announced on Thursday.

Peter Hultqvist said increased Russian military activity in and around the Baltic Sea was forcing the Scandinavian country’s armed forces to concentrate more on border defense than international operations.

“We are making it very clear that we are shifting toward a focus of the national operations,” he said. Read more “Sweden to Boost Defense, Remilitarize Gotland”