Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna met in Stockholm with Swedish Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist, where they discussed the security situation in Europe as well as defence related cooperation between Estonia and Sweden.
“Sweden is taking the security situation very seriously, following the annexation of Crimea and the continued display of aggressive behaviour by Russia, and has decided to reinstate conscript service,” stated Minister of Defence Tsahkna. “This is a notable development. Sweden is also taking additional steps, restoring its previously frozen military capabilities at an accelerated pace and reinforcing its total defence system.”
The ministers discussed defence cooperation between the two countries within different frameworks. Sweden plans to participate in Estonia’s large-scale training exercise Spring Storm. Estonia has announced that a Defence League unit will be participating in Sweden’s international large-scale training exercise Aurora, taking place in September, which is during approximately the same timeframe as the Russian Federation’s large-scale exercise Zapad 2017. A total of 19,000 servicemen and women will be participating in Aurora, which will be Sweden’s largest training exercise in the last 23 years.
Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna spoke to his Swedish colleague about Estonia's defence related priorities during its presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the most important being an increase in defence expenditures by European countries, raising the defence capability, and carrying out a security focused training exercise for European defence ministers. Also under discussion was the expanding of practical cooperation between NATO and the European Union.
At his meeting with Micael Bydén, Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Minister of Defence Tsahkna received an overview of the extensive reforms within the Swedish Armed Forces.
The appearance by Margus Tsahkna and Peter Hultqvist at the seminar dedicated to Baltic Sea security, held at the Swedish Defence University, ended his working visit to Sweden.
Estonia is connected to Sweden through long-term military cooperation. A large portion of the weapons used by Estonia’s Army are originally from Sweden.