Today, at Tapa, the Belgian Army company serving within the composition of the NATO battle group handed over its authorisations to the French Army unit that arrived in Estonia last month.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik thanked the Belgians for their excellent service and welcomed the French on their second rotation in Estonia.
According to Luik, our allies have demonstrated great dedication to the defence of our region and this friendship has been seasoned on the battlefield – Estonian soldiers have served together with French soldiers in conflict zones in Kosovo, the Central-African Republic and Mali. Estonian and French units are presently serving together in Barkhane, Mali.
‘One for all and all for one as Alexandre Dumas once so famously wrote!’ said Jüri Luik to emphasise the steadfastness of allied relationships.
The French contingent includes nearly 300 troops from the 2nd Armoured Brigade and the Foreign Legion of the French Army, who will be serving at Tapa until December of this year. France first deployed its soldiers to Estonia in 2017, when the NATO battle group’s first units arrived here. A French Airforce contingent also protected Estonian airspace with the framework of the NATO Baltic Air Policing Mission, from April thru September 2018.
The Belgian unit had been serving in Estonia since January of this year. The core of the unit is comprised of the historic Bataillon de Chasseurs Ardennais. In total there were 300 Belgian servicemen and nearly 100 units of combat equipment.