This weekend, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik held several bilateral meetings at the Munich Security Conference to discuss topical security and defence issues.
At his meeting with General Curtis Scaparrotti, Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO, Luik thanked the General for his dedicated and effective work in defence planning for Estonia and for the entire eastern flank of NATO.
According to Luik, General Scaparrotti has helped to develop a common strategic threat picture and corresponding military capabilities.
‘Cooperation with the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO has been fruitful from the point of view of the development of Estonia's military defence. Similar to his predecessors, General Scaparrotti has made a very professional and valuable contribution to make sure that all the Alliance members are better defended,’ Luik said.
In recognition of his service the President of the Republic of Estonia has decided to present the highest military decoration – The Order of the Cross of the Eagle (1st Class) – to General Scaparrotti.
The bilateral meeting with the Netherlands´ Minister of Defence Ank Bijleveld Schouten focused on cooperation between the two countries in various security and defence policy formats, in which Estonia and the Netherlands are actively taking part.
Minister Luik thanked his colleague for the contribution to ensuring the security of our region. Dutch servicemen are participating the NATO Battle Group in Lithuania, and are also contributing to the the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence as well as to the NATO Force Integration Unit, located in Tallinn.
The topics of regional security and cooperation in strengthening defence and deterrence were discussed at the meeting with the Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Błaszczak.
‘Poland is a close and important Ally and we share a similar vision concerning security and defence questions. The military presence of the United States of America in Europe and in our region, is very important for both countries, where the military contribution of a more powerful NATO member presence is needed to counterbalance Russia’s aggressive behaviour,’ Luik said.
In addition to the bilateral meetings, Jüri Luik also took part, along with Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and several other recognised experts in the field of defence, in a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Tallinn-based International Centre for Defence and Security, where the topic was military defence planning by the Baltic Republics.
Within the framework of the Munich Security Conference, Estonia’s Defence Minister also met with his Swedish colleague, Peter Hultqvist to discuss bilateral and regional security and defence issues.