Edvardas Pocius | The Lithuania Tribune
Sweden officially invited Lithuania to join the Nordic Battlegroup (NBG) in the beginning of 2015. The Swedish Ambassador to Lithuania Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin delivered the invitation, which was expressed in the Swedish Minister’s of Defense Karin Enström letter addressed to the Lithuanian Minister of Defense Rasa Juknevičienė, on 24 August.
“That is a very important project for the Lithuanian Army which will provide a possibility to join one of the most fundamental operational capabilities of the EU” said the Lithuanian Vice minister of Defense Vytautas Umbrasas who received the invitation.
According to Mr. Umbrasas, Lithuania’s participation in the NBG will contribute to the capacity building of the EU’s response force and strengthen regional cooperation between the Baltic and Nordic states.
Lithuania expressed its intensions to join the NBG several years ago. In addition to the Swedish and Lithuanian forces, troops from Norway, Finland, Ireland and Estonia will also belong to the NBG in 2015.
The NBG is supposed to be on duty in the first half of 2015 as it was in 2008 and 2011. This battlegroup is considered to be one of the best formed battlegroups of the EU.
Similarly to the NATO Response Force, the EU battlegroups consists of military units deployed for six months by member states following a rotating scheme. Up to two thousand troops can quickly be deployed to a crisis area.
The Nordic Battlegroup is based in Sweden during the training period and while on standby. The force is under the command of Brigadier General Karl Engelbrektsson, with Swedish headquarters and staff officers from each of the participating countries. If an operation is launched, the general and his staff will command the force in the theatre.
In the first half of 2010 Lithuania deployed its forces to a joint German, Polish, Slovakian and Latvian battlegroup. In the second half of 2013 Lithuania, Sweden and Latvia will join the UK-led battlegroup. Lithuania will deploy one infantry company in 2013.