During a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, Estonia’s Defense Minister Juri Luik and ministers of defense of the other European Union member states discussed cooperation between the EU and NATO, the activity of the European Defense Agency and EU military missions, as well as matters related to operations.
Luik also had meetings with his Belgian and Northern Group counterparts, spokespeople for the Defense Ministry in Tallinn said.
Luik said that NATO has been playing the key role in ensuring the security of Europe already for the past 70 years and the transatlantic bond will continue to be the cornerstone of Europe’s security also in the future.
“We have to be very precise using concepts such as that of an European army, as such ambiguous terms may undermine the transatlantic bond,” Luik said.
The session in which also the NATO secretary general took part focused largely on transatlantic cooperation in the light of recent developments. Both the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, who chaired the meeting, as well as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg noted that the various defense initiatives of the EU must strengthen the transatlantic bond.
In addition, Luik had a meeting with the new minister of defense of Belgium, Sander Loones, whom he thanked for the recent decision to station a Belgian armored maneuver unit in Estonia next year. At the invitation of Denmark’s Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen, making the fight against hybrid threats more efficient was discussed. Joining the allied battle group stationed in Estonia, the Belgian unit will take over from a Danish unit at the Tapa base at the beginning of 2019.
At a joint session of ministers of defense and ministers of foreign affairs on Monday, the ministers approved 17 new projects under the arrangement for permanent structured cooperation in defense, PESCO, including a project concerning unmanned ground vehicles led by Estonia. Also discussed were matters related to the European Defense Fund, the coordinated annual review on defense (CARD) and the proposal for a European Peace Facility.