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At the meeting with the Swedish Defence Commission that is on a visit to Estonia, the members of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) stated that they very much looked forward to Sweden’s accession to NATO, which would considerably increase the security of the Baltic Sea Region and enable the countries to have closer defence cooperation.

Chairman of the National Defence Committee Kalev Stoicescu said that the defence committees of both countries agreed that Russia posed a long-term threat to NATO and the allies had to be prepared for that. The meeting focused on the plans of the countries for strengthening their defence capability.

Stoicescu pointed out that next year Estonia’s defence budget would exceed three per cent of GDP for the first time and reach to around 3.2 per cent of GDP from the current 2.85 per cent. According to him, it is important that, in addition to the large defence investments which account for more than half of the defence budget, the state also contributes to civil protection. Sweden is also planning to increase its defence budget significantly, bringing defence spending to two per cent of GDP next year.

Stoicescu stated that Estonia would also continue providing Ukraine the military assistance it needed to win the war of aggression launched by Russia as soon as possible. “It is crucial to continue working on the introduction of new sanctions as well as on a more effective implementation of existing ones, in order to stop all trade with Russia. There is no other way to stop Russia than by weakening that country to the point where they are unable to continue the war,” he said.

At the meeting, the members of the National Defence Committee said they very much looked forward to Sweden becoming a member of NATO as soon as possible, like Finland. By today, 29 states out of 31 have approved Sweden’s accession. “Our views and understanding on the challenges of security and defence are the same, and Sweden will be a very good ally for us in NATO,” Stoicescu said.

NATO’s Regional Defence Plans that were endorsed at the Vilnius Summit and need to be jointly exercised and filled with real military capabilities by the allies were also discussed at the meeting. The members of the Committees also underlined the need to urgently increase the capabilities of European defence industries in order to ensure adequate supplies of arms and ammunition.

Photos (Erik Peinar / Chancellery of the Riigikogu)

Riigikogu Press Service
Karin Kangro
+372 631 6356, +372 520 0323
[email protected]
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