Digitalt anförande av försvarsminister Pål Jonson på rymdseminariet vid EU-representationen (på engelska)

Publicerad Uppdaterad

Den 24 april höll försvarsminister Pål Jonson ett digitalt anförande vid EU-representationen i Bryssel på ett rymdseminarium som anordnades i samverkan med EU:s institut för säkerhetsstudier.

Det talade ordet gäller.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour to speak for you today at this seminar, jointly organized by the Swedish presidency and the EU Institute for Security Studies.

I was really looking forward to being with you in Brussels, but the current situation in Sudan and the ongoing efforts to bring home our citizens, require my presence in Stockholm.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do it this way instead.  

Cooperation has never been more important as we live in a world where our democratic societies are challenged by authoritarian forces. We know that peace, democracy, and freedom cannot be taken for granted. It is up to us – and the generations following us – to defend it, like our Ukrainian friends are doing on the frontlines.

One of the top priorities of the Swedish Presidency of the Council is developing EU’s partnerships within the area of security and defence.

One of the central themes in the book Art of War by Sun Tzu in the fifth century BC is that military intelligence is the key to war; without it, you cannot win.

Intelligence about adversaries has been key in military strategy since the advent of war. With the use of satellites by the US and the Soviet Union, intelligence gathering reached a new level in the 1950’s. Satellites rendered unprecedented advantages, not only in surveillance and reconnaissance but also in communication and navigation. Thus, the space domain has been shaped by geopolitical competition and has been used as a strategic asset for defence and security since the beginning of the space age.

Technical development and the return of power politics entail a world where several actors seek to obtain and exert spacepower. The space domain is increasingly competitive and contested. At the same time, space assets and services are crucial for the European economy, security and strategic autonomy.

Europe is a global space power with extensive space infrastructure. The use of power in space by others has therefore necessitated the need to complement the EU space policy with the security and defence dimension. In addition, the war in Ukraine has exemplified both the importance and vulnerability of the access to space services.

I therefore commend the Commission and the EEAS, for developing an EU space strategy for security and defence, which recognises the strategic importance of space, addresses the concept of space power and deterrence, and which calls for protection of space systems and services in the EU. As such, the strategy will aid in securing our access to this strategic domain and in enhancing the EU strategic posture and autonomy in space.

The war in the Ukraine has taught us several lessons.

First, the war has confirmed the critical role of space assets in modern warfighting and national security in maintaining information dominance. In particular, the autonomous access to satellite imagery and resilient satellite-based communications is of vital importance.

Second, the war has demonstrated the crucial role played by private companies in geopolitics. For example, commercial satellite imagery providers have proved instrumental in supporting Ukrainian Forces, crisis management and media coverage.

Third, the war has emphasized the need for European autonomous access to space with launch capacities that are innovative and responsive as well as production capacity for developing launch vehicles.

Fourth, the war has shown that future defence capabilities remain technology-rich. The use of emerging and disruptive technologies can contribute to the resilience of space infrastructure and the adaptation to a changing threat environment in space. As innovation in the commercial sector today is outpacing the demand signal from the government sector, it is paramount that commercial industry innovation is leveraged.

The EU space strategy takes into account these lessons by proposing concrete actions to increase the resilience of the space infrastructure and the space sector in the EU.  In addition, the strategy addresses the development of space capabilities for security and defence as well as for autonomous access to space.

As stated in the Compass, the EU and its member states need to strengthen the cooperation with partners to address common threats and challenges. Building strong partnerships in space, security and defence underpins the secure and responsible use of space as well as the use of space for security and defence.

As a space power Europe faces a complexity due to the many different stakeholders involved in space, such as the Commission, member states, EDA and NATO, to name a few. Therefore, partnerships in various forms are paramount.

The security situation in Europe has underlined the need for further cooperation between the EU and its partners. This includes strategic partners that have developed or are developing space capabilities for security and defence, such as the US, the UK, Norway, Canada and Turkey. Establishment of alliances beyond traditional partnerships could also be considered.

A key partnership for the EU to cultivate is that with NATO. Sweden will make all possible efforts to promote the implementation of the third joint declaration on EU-NATO cooperation, signed in January. The increasing recognition of space for security and defence in the EU and NATO merits identification and coordination of activities and synergies in the area of space, security and defence, in order to avoid duplication of efforts.

In order to address the challenges and opportunities space entail, the Swedish Government has initiated the development of a defence and security strategy for space. This strategy will describe our strategic goals and priorities, taking into account the EU space strategy for security and defence and a future membership in NATO.

Several strategic themes are being discussed, such as the use of space assets in support of our military and civil defence as well as the optimisation of civil-military synergies. Another theme is capability development, for example capabilities for space-based surveillance and reconnaissance, space domain awareness (SDA) and responsive satellite launches.

Two key factors underpinning the new strategic direction are our combined industrial and institutional capacity and our geostrategic position in Northern Europe.

Sweden has a strong heritage in designing, building and operating satellites. The development of a capability for SDA has been part of our defence R&D and will, in part, be leveraged in the EU SST-partnership.

Our geographic location is ideal for the operations as well as for the surveillance and tracking of satellites in polar orbits. The Esrange Space Centre, owned and operated by the Swedish Space Corporation, is recognised as a strategic resource due to its location and infrastructure. With the Swedish Government investing in the Esrange Space Port, Sweden will have the capacity for orbital launches.

Based on these key factors, Sweden is well-positioned to contribute to the EU capacities for autonomous access to space and space domain awareness.

Finally, the publication of this strategy will be a transparency and confidence-building measure, contributing to the security in space.

With that I give my best wishes for fruitful continued discussions during this afternoon and my thanks to EU ISS for their support in organising this seminar.

Thank you.