Minister of Defence Jüri Luik concluded the 42nd Higher National Defence Courses with a speech and presented graduation certificates, emphasizing the importance of each graduate in ensuring national defence.
In his speech, Minister of Defence Jüri Luik noted that an impressive number of interested people have passed the course – almost 2000 people in total. ‘Every graduate has an improved horizon, new lasting acquaintances and a desire to contribute more to Estonia’s defence and security’, said Luik.
According to Luik, what is taken away from the course is important – better perception of the security environment. ‘Estonia is better protected than ever before, but we must remain vigilant and be able to adequately assess challenges and threats emanating from the East or elsewhere’, he said. The threats are often hybrid in nature, emphasised Luik, where the opponent tries to remain below the level of Article 5.
According to Luik, a serious crisis situation may also be non-military in nature, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, where national defence structures showed their readiness to provide immediate assistance to people, hospitals and border guard and police forces.
‘Speaking of resources, it must be taken into account that independence and protection are expensive, in both senses of the word’, stated Luik. He added that two percent of Estonia’s gross domestic product is wisely invested in real and much-needed defence capabilities.
Lastly, the Prime Minister emphasised allies. ‘No country is successful without allies’, he noted, adding that the allies in the form of the European Union and NATO are vital for Estonia. ‘The most important thing in every situation is to maintain a consensus between allies, gaps between allies are extremely dangerous to our security’, said Luik.
The purpose of the Higher National Defence Courses is to provide an introduction to Estonia’s security, foreign and defence policies, as well as the broad concept of national defence, to an audience of politicians, senior state officials and servicemen, top economic and opinion leaders, cultural and educational practitioners, journalists and NGOs, and society as a whole, in order to enhance cooperation and social cohesion in the field of national defence. The courses are being organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security.
Additional information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee