Ott Tammik, ERR News
The defense ministers of the three Baltic countries have decided to hold a joint ammunition tender, form a collective military unit for the NATO Response Force, and increase funding for the Baltic airspace policing operation.
At a meeting at the Ämari Air Base on Friday, the ministers signed an agreement for initiating a joint tender this year to acquire ammunition for Carl-Gustaf grenade launchers, a press release from the Defense Ministry said.
"With a joint ammunition tender, we will save money for the taxpayers of the Baltic countries, since larger quantities is accompanied by a cheaper price. The tender will secure large ammunition resources for our military, necessary for strengthening Estonia's defense capacity,” said Estonian Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu.
The ministers also agree to establish a common unit of at least one battalion for the NATO Response Force in 2016, as was done in 2010.
A third initiative is to increase funding from the Baltic states for NATO's Baltic airspace policing operation that was recently made permanent. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would increase the annual funding package from the current 2.2 million euros to 5 million euros by 2015, the release said. The funds will be used to help pay for the allies' fighter jet fuel as well as accommodation and transport expenses for NATO soldiers.
Earlier on Friday, the Baltic ministers met with Polish Deputy Defense Minister Zbigniew Wlosowicz and the chairman of the European Union Military, Hakan Syren.
The Baltic defense ministers meet twice a year, with the next summit to take place in Latvia next winter.
Baltic Ministers Commit to Joint Ammunition Tender, Increased Airspace Funding