Estonia in charge of Baltic defence cooperation this year
The defence ministers of the Baltic states signed an updated cooperation pact at a meeting held in Latvia January 29, whereunder Estonia will be in charge of steering the defence cooperation between the three countries.
The memorandum signed by Estonian Defence Minister Urmas Reinsalu, Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks and the Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas will allow Baltic defence cooperation to approach the Nordic model. Among other things, the model prescribes that one of the three countries will hold the presidency each year.
Reinsalu said there are a number of opportunities for Baltic cooperation that will increase each country’s security and lead to potential savings of taxpayer money. Past examples cited by the Estonian defence minister included the Baltic Defence College, joint ammunition tenders and the Baltic Naval Squadron.
“For Estonia, real defence cooperation is important, as is contributing to it. It isn’t so much lofty declarations and agreements that are important to us but rather real results that can be jointly achieved,” said the minister.
Reinsalu emphasized that he took an attitude of “utter commitment” to Baltic cooperation taking place on the principle of parity.
He also stressed that the goal of increasing defence spending to 2 per cent of the gross domestic product and he welcomed the efforts of Latvia and Lithuania to move toward this goal.
At their meeting, the defence ministers also discussed joint participation in international operation, establishing joint units within the framework of NATO and EU military cooperation, and trilateral cooperation in joint military procurements.