Estonia has bilateral defence relations with approximately 35 countries in Europe, North America and Asia.
- Estonian Defence Attachés have been appointed to Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
- In addition, Estonia employs defence policy advisers in Paris and Washington, who accommodate co-operation projects between the ministries and the armed forces.
Bilateral relations have been traditionally close with Nordic countries – Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
Several Estonian officers have received part of their military education in Finland and Sweden. Co-operation is also close in the field of defence procurements. Co-operation with Denmark has in recent years focused mostly on training and contribution to international operations (KFOR, NRF14). Norway has been one of Estonia’s most important partners in the field of air surveillance and has helped Estonia to develop its Host Nation Support system.
Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Norway are participating in the EU Nordic Battle Group, which has significantly enhanced the co-operation and interoperability between the armed forces. All Nordic countries have contributed to the Baltic co-operation initiatives, and to the outreach activities in Ukraine, Georgia and Western Balkans in the framework of the Nordic-Baltic Initiative for Regional Defence Co-operation. The co-operation between Estonia and the Nordics is increasing in the fields of cyber security and sea surveillance.
The United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany and France are among Estonia’s closest allies. Together with the Nordic countries, they have all assisted Estonia to develop its defence forces starting from the 1990-s.
Close military co-operation with the United States continues to be an important cornerstone of Estonia’s security policy and covers a wide range of fields such as training and military exercises, material and financial aid, procurements, common participation in operations and Baltic co-operation projects.
Defence co-operation with the United Kingdom is focused on two major projects: participation of Estonian troops in the United Kingdom-led Task Force in Southern Afghanistan as part of the NATO ISAF operation, and naval co-operation in the field of mine countermeasures.
Germany and France have been among the main contributors to the Baltic co-operation projects - the most well-known of which is the Baltic Defence College. However the relations have been fruitful also in the field of air force and naval co-operation. France, for instance, has become an important training partner for the Estonian Air Force. Both countries participate in NATO NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCD COE) which is located in Tallinn.
Co-operation with Poland is most visible in the field of exercises (including NATO Collective Defence exercises) and Baltic co-operation projects.
Geographic proximity and similar perception of regional security means that Poland is a close and increasingly important partner for Estonia in security related topics.
In addition to the abovementioned projects,
bilateral co-operation includes co-ordination of defence policy positions within regional frameworks and international organizations, including the EU and NATO, and exchange of information related to defence reforms and capability development. All of these activities contribute towards the overall bilateral and regional defence co-operation objectives to achieve better mutual understanding and interoperability between the countries and their armed forces, as well as a more efficient use of resources.
The Estonian Ministry of Defence concludes Inter-Agency Agreements with agencies of foreign countries and with international organisations. These written agreements are concluded in accordance with the competence of the Ministry of Defence and regulated by international law. To this date, the Estonian Ministry of Defence has concluded Inter-Agency Agreements with the Polish Minister of Defence and the United States Department of Defence.
- Framework Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia and the Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Poland on Bilateral Defence Co-operation (977.62 KB, PDF)
- Memorandum of Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia and the Department of Defence of the United States of America Regarding the Military Reserve Exchange Program (1.34 MB, PDF) (Short Title: MREP MOA)
- Agreement between the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia and the Department of Defence of the United States of America for Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Projects (284.53 KB, PDF) (Short Title: RDT&E Agreement)