Today in Brussels, Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg discussed strengthened NATO presence in Estonia.
“The framework for strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture was agreed in Madrid. Major decisions that also affect Estonia have been made and now their implementation should move forward swiftly. This implementation will constitute the NATO defence plan for the eastern flank,” explained minister Pevkur. “The highest priority for Estonia now is the allocation of an additional brigade from the UK to Estonia and the creation of a battle-ready division structure. The command of this division has to be integrated into NATO defence plans right away,” said Minister of Defence Pevkur.
Estonia is working in parallel on creating the necessary conditions for strengthened Allied presence (incl. barracks, infrastructure for pre-positioned equipment, expanding training grounds). In addition to strengthening Estonia’s own defences through allocating additional funds, the government has also directed additional funding to host nation support expansion. “The last package of additional defence funding also contained means for improving the conditions of receiving Allied forces both in Tapa and Ämari, so on this end, we have made quick strides ahead in Estonia to create the necessary conditions,” said Pevkur.
The Minister of Defence and the Secretary General also discussed the situation in Ukraine, the next steps for the NATO innovation fund, and the developments of the DIANA innovation accelerator in Estonia. In addition to the HQ branch, Estonia is prepared to launch the accelerator next year, to be among the first to offer opportunities to start-up companies from the region as well as the wider Alliance.
During the visit, Pevkur also met with Charles Fries, the Deputy Secretary General for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response of the European External Action Service, and Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market.
Additional information: [email protected]