On Wednesday and Thursday, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik participated in an informal meeting of European Union defence ministers, in Vienna, where the focus was on the future of defence cooperation between European Union Member States and security questions involving the Western Balkans.
'Estonia will continue on with European Union defence cooperation with the momentum from its presidency, hand in hand with the reinforcing of NATO’s deterrence and defence posture. We see the need for European defence cooperation that complements NATO’s collective defence, avoids excessive bureaucracy and supports defence cooperation between Member States when it comes to developing their military capabilities,’ said Luik.
At the forthcoming negotiations for the European Union Multiannual Financial Framework for the years 2021-2027, Estonia considers it important that the planned EUR 6.5 for military mobility be invested in the development of dual use infrastructure, thereby supporting the movement of allied units and equipment within the framework of NATO’s presence and trainings.
While the European Union’s Ministers of Defence approved the first 17 cooperation projects within the framework of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) back in March – including in the field of military mobility, as requested by Estonia – then further projects will be approved by the end of this year.
‘To that end, Estonia has submitted an innovative unmanned ground system development project, with interest already having been expressed by large countries, such as Germany and France. When developing smart and innovative defence technologies and products it is important that the European Union be flexible in including third countries and supporting the cross border activity of small and medium sized undertakings,’ noted Luik.
In addition, the defence ministers discussed the future of EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. The mandate for the mission expires at the end of 2018. Operation EUNAVFOR MED Sophia is the EU naval operation set up to stop the business model of immigrant smugglers and human traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean.
Minister of Defence Luik also met in Vienna with Admiral Juan Fransisco Martínez Núñez, Director of Defence Policy at the Spanish Ministry of Defence, with whom he discussed the rocket incident involving a Spanish plane, which took place at the beginning of August. Emphasising the need for the rotation when it comes to NATO Baltic Air Policing, Estonia and Spain promised to continue with their bilateral exchange of information and to reach final conclusions with NATO regarding the incident.
NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations also participated in the 29-30 August meeting, in Vienna, to discuss opportunities for UN, NATO and European Union cooperation in the Western-Balkans.
Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee