Defence expenditures of the NATO member states and international relations with Russia were spoken about at the meeting of the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, National Defence Committee and Estonia-USA Parliamentary Group of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) with the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States today.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser thanked the USA for the support they have shown Estonia after Estonia regained its independence, and for the presence of the US troops on NATO’s eastern wing. “Estonia is very grateful that the USA helps guarantee the security of our region,” Mikser said. In his opinion, every cent contributed to strengthening of the eastern wing of NATO is justified.
Mikser stressed at the meeting that in security issues and planning of defence expenditure, there is consensus in the Riigikogu. “We take our commitment to spend not less than two percent of GDP on national defence very seriously,” Mikser said.
“Small countries often do not have much more than keeping their word to put on the table,” member of the National Defence Committee Johannes Kert said. “When we joined NATO, we promised to maintain our defence expenditure at the level of at least two percent, and we honour that. We see that as a contribution to the political unity of NATO.”
Representatives of the opposition parties Kadri Simson and Andres Herkel also emphasised the importance of consensus in planning of defence expenditures.
Russia’s propaganda war, the impact of sanctions imposed against Russia on economy and the forthcoming presidential elections in both the USA and Estonia were also discussed at the meeting.
From the Riigikogu, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Sven Mikser, members of the Foreign Affairs Committee Anne Sulling, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, Juhan Parts and Andres Herkel, member of the National Defence Committee Johannes Kert and Chairperson of the Estonia-USA Parliamentary Group Kadri Simson and member of the Group Kristjan Kõljalg participated in the meeting.
The members of the U.S. Congress delegation were Senators Christopher A. Coons, Gary Peters and Bill Nelson, and Congressmen Charlie Dent and Pat Meehan. The guests acknowledged the economic success of Estonia, expressed interest in cyber defence and thanked Estonia for participating in joint foreign missions.
Riigikogu Press Service
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