Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) and member of the Estonian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Marko Mihkelson said that French nuclear deterrence and France’s active participation in the stabilisation of the hotspots of crisis in Africa works also in the interests of Estonia.
“Although the strategic nuclear deterrence of France is strictly sovereign, its global extent also protects the interests of other allies, including Estonia,” Mihkelson said. In his opinion, there is no doubt that the nuclear forces will remain a very important deterrence factor in ensuring the security balance of Europe also in the future.
Mihkelson emphasised that the active participation of French defence forces in stabilising the various hotspots of crisis in Africa is unarguably in the interests of the whole Europe. “It helps stop the spreading of Islamic extremism in North Africa and deal with the roots of the refugee crisis that has hit Europe. At the same time France also acknowledges the participation of, for example, the Estonian defence forces in the missions on the Central African Republic and in Mali. This in its turn shows that the allies can perceive each other’s security concerns very well,” Mihkelson said.
This week Mihkelson, as a member of the delegation of the Defence and Security Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, met with the leaders of French strategic nuclear forces Vice Admiral Louis-Michel Guillaume and General of Air Forces Bernard Schuler, and visited the strategic nuclear submarine base in Île Longue near Brest.
Mihkelson also met with the Commander of French Special Operations Forces Major General Grégoire de Saint-Quentin and the Commander of Headquarters Rapid Reaction Corps Lieutenant General Eric Margail, and visited the navy special forces unit base in Lanester. During his visit to France, Mihkelson also saw the Headquarters of the French Foreign Legion in Aubagne near Marseille and met with the Commander of the Legion Major General Jean Maurin.