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Luik: Sweden is an important provider of security in our region

19. September 2017 - 9:05

Minister of Defence Jüri Luik met today with the Swedish Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist, and General Micael Byden, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces. The defence ministers discussed the security situation that has developed in the Baltic Sea region, the start of the Zapad training exercise, and the topic of Aurora.

At his meeting with Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist, the ministers discussed the training exercise Aurora 17, which is the first large scale Swedish military exercise to be held since the beginning of the 1990s. The training exercise is taking place on the island of Gotland, and in the vicinity of Stockholm and Gothenburg. Estonia is participating in the training exercise with a Defence League unit from the Saaremaa district and a Navy ship.

The training exercise Aurura 17 and developments taking place in the field of defence in Sweden indicate that Sweden has clearly come to the realisation that it has a larger role to play in ensuring security in the Baltic Sea region, said Minister of Defence Jüri Luik.

The Ministers also discussed the topic of bilateral cooperation between Estonia and Sweden in the field of defence.

At the meeting, Minister for Defence Hultqvist provided an overview of the Swedish Government’s decision to increase defence expenditures over the next three years. The government will be allocating an additional SEK 8.1 billion over the next three years in order to increase the strength of the Swedish Armed Forces. Sweden will also be reinstating conscript service starting in 2018.

During his visit, Luik also met with EU and NATO representatives stationed in Sweden, in order to provide an overview of the developments in EU defence cooperation and the recent meeting between EU ministers of defence in Tallinn. At the meeting, Luik said that the EU ministers of defence confirmed their readiness for greater cooperation in the field of defence and mentioned that there is hope that the end of this year will see the launching of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund.

According to Jan Salestrand, State Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Sweden supports greater defence cooperation in Europe, but emphasised that it should not duplicate the activities of NATO.

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