Tuesday, Philippe, the King of the Belgians visited troops serving with the NATO Battle Group at Tapa to thank them for their service and to receive an overview of the units’ activities in Estonia.
The King was accompanied on his visit to Tapa by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Didier Reynders and Estonian Minister of Defence Jüri Luik.
According to Minister of Defence Luik, it is clear that defence cooperation between Allies is critically important, but it is also important that Allies enjoy close relations in other fields as this helps us to understand the value of defending one another.
During this morning’s trilateral meeting at Kadriorg, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Didier Reynders, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser and Minister of Defence Jüri Luik discussed questions relating to defence cooperation and opportunities for enhancing cooperation in e-governance and the digital field.
‘I am pleased that the friendly relations between Estonia and Belgium have grown even further in the past few years. We welcome Belgium’s interest in Estonia's e-government solutions and are definitely interested in finding cooperation projects with Belgium,’ Minster of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser said.
In addition, questions regarding the future of the European Union and Belgium’s experience on the UN Security Council were discussed. Belgium is currently serving as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2019-2020. Estonia is applying for the position of non-permanent member for the period 2020-2021.
A total of nearly 800 servicemen from the United Kingdom and nearly 300 from Belgium are currently serving in the NATO Battle Group stationed at Tapa. Estonia and Belgium enjoy close cooperation – Belgium's air defence unit has regularly participated in the large-scale spring training exercises, and the Belgians have also participated in NATO Baltic Air Policing missions, including in 2016 and 2017 from Ämari.