Foreign Minister Urmas Paet in Riigikogu: Estonia’s Security is Foundation For Country’s Well-Being


No. 36-E

In his address to the Riigikogu on Estonia’s foreign policy today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that we must continue to turn our attention to ensuring Estonia’s security. “Our security is the foundation without which there is no well-being,” said Paet.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that in May of this year the next NATO summit will take place in Chicago, where the allies will consider how NATO’s defence capability corresponds to today’s needs. “The USA’s leading role in NATO remains essential even after the reduction of defence spending and forces stationed in Europe,” said Paet. The foreign minister added that the USA will remain tied to Europe, but it is clear that European allies will have to contribute more in order to maintain NATO’s deterrent capabilities.

Paet stated that Estonia has fulfilled the obligation it accepted when it joined the alliance. “Our defence spending in 2012 equals 2% of the gross domestic product,” Paet noted. The foreign minister pointed out that in the spring of 2012 only three other NATO members can meet this goal. “Therefore it is important that the 2% requirement remains among NATO’s primary goals,” he added. 

In his speech, Paet also emphasised that the NATO countries reaching an agreement on continuing the air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is a vital security guarantee for us. “The current and ongoing air policing mission is an excellent example of the intelligent use of the allies’ joint resources and capabilities – the successful implementation of the ‘smart defence’ concept,” he said. Paet added that in the future an important role in ensuring airspace security will also be played by Ämari air base, which is Estonia’s largest defence facility.

During his speech the foreign minister also noted that Estonia would like to develop the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy. According to Paet, the European Union must address defence-related issues more than it has before. “Therefore we support Poland, Germany and France’s initiative to strengthen the EU’s crisis management capability,” he said. The foreign minister added that it is essential to improve the EU’s ability to plan and lead missions and operations. “The European Union must have truly functional rapid response capabilities, and in order to make this happen Estonia is prepared to participate in the Nordic Battle Group again,” Paet emphasised.

A concrete example of Estonia’s contribution to the EU Security and Defence Policy is our participation in the anti-piracy operation Atalanta in co-operation with France and Germany. “In addition to military missions, Estonia also plans to continue contributing to the civil missions of the EU, UN, and the Organisation for the Security and Co-operation in Europe,” said the foreign minister. “There are currently 17 civil experts sent by Estonia participating in international missions,” he noted.

Full text of the address:

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