Roosta, 8 November 2010 – In opening this autumn’s public defence courses, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that collective defence will become the central task facing NATO in the alliance’s new strategic concept currently being developed.
“As a nation, today we are enjoying what is probably the most secure period in our history when it comes to national security – our re-independent state and society has been developing and becoming stronger for 20 years, and we are members of NATO and the European Union,” said the head of government, adding that Estonia had no reason to doubt that NATO or Article Five, which enshrines the principle of collective defence, would be implemented in the manner in which it was intended. “The principle of ‘one for all and all for one’ will remain NATO’s primary task,” said Ansip.
The head of government said that national defence was not a luxury to be dealt with only in good times. “Many countries cut defence spending during the recession. But Estonia decided to increase defence budget even during the crisis – next year, defence spending will make up 1.9 per cent of our gross domestic product,” said the Prime Minister.
Ansip said Estonia’s security was also bolstered by accession to the Eurozone and OECD, as this will increase the country’s perceived reliability and encourage closer integration with the rest of the world. After Estonia joins the Eurozone and OECD, Estonia will become the best-integrated country in the Nordic and Baltic region.
The public defence courses held since 1999 have thousands of alumni from different walks of life. Politicians, public servants, entrepreneurs, journalists, educational workers and people from other fields have all taken part in the courses.
Over six days, the participants will receive a thorough overview of Estonian security and defence policy, foreign policy, the organization of national defence and legislative environment, international defence cooperation and Estonia’s defence investments and internal security as well as how national defence ties in with different fields.
Besides the Prime Minister, the following officials will address the participants: Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet, Minister of the Interior Marko Pomerants, Commander of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General Ants Laaneots, public servants from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, officers from the defence forces and other experts.
Photographs from the opening of the courses: http://www.valitsus.ee/index.p...
Ansip: Collective defence to become central task in new NATO strategic concept