Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria) met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Belgian Minister of Defence Steven Vandeput in Brussels on Monday to discuss the upcoming NATO summit, European defence initiatives as well as bilateral defence cooperation.
“The stationing of NATO units on the alliance’s eastern flank has been a remarkable step in strengthening deterrence in order for peace to prevail in the Baltic Sea region,” Luik said according to a Ministry of Defence press release. “It is extremely important for us that NATO is able to quickly reinforce the troops already present with additional forces and to protect allies if necessary.”
According to the minister, it is necessary for NATO to speed up both the transfer of troops as well as the process of adopting related decisions.
Stoltenberg highlighted that Estnia is one of few allies to meet or exceed the requirement to dedicate at least 2% of the GDP to defence spending. He also thanked Estonia for its contributions to Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan, where a platoon-sized unit began serving last week. Also discussed were increasing unit readiness, NATO’s military command structure as well as troop transfers.
“When we look at a map, we can understand that namely the EU plays an important role in the rapid movement of allied units,” Luik said following his meeting with Mogherini.
According to the Estonian minister, it is important that the military mobility initiative begun during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU last autumn achieve tangible results. “The EU, NATO but of course also member states would benefit from this,” he added.
In addition to military mobility, Luik and Mogherini also discussed the EU budget and the related defence fund as well as matters related to defence cooperation with the U.S. and U.K.
At his meeting with Vandeput, Luik thanked Belgium for its participation in NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission as well as various training exercises and naval mine clearing operations.