Today the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) is on its annual visit to Finland, where the discussions at the meetings with the colleagues at the Finnish Parliament the Eduskunta focus on bilateral practical defence cooperation and regional security.
Chairman of the National Defence Committee Hannes Hanso thinks that the bilateral defence cooperation with Finland has been consistent and is becoming more and more closer. In his opinion, the bilateral cooperation has been taken to a totally new level in recent years. “Things we didn’t do before have become usual and regular,” he said. “Estonian troops take part in exercises in Finland, and the Finns participate in exercises held in Estonia. There is no doubt that both countries have a common interest to continue this trend, and to have as close and practical cooperation as possible, especially taking into account the activities of our eastern neighbour.”
Hanso pointed out that exchange of experience on mobilisation and joint procurements had become established fields of cooperation. He considered the experience of Finland in national maritime surveillance cooperation relevant. “Estonia is interested in improving the exchange of information, so that it would also include bilateral sharing of air and maritime surveillance images,” Hanso said. “We plan activities necessary for the bridging of capability gaps together, in order to ensure security in the Baltic Sea.”
Hanso said that next year Estonia would become NATO contact point embassy in Finland, which would mean even closer mutual defence cooperation.
Member of the National Defence Committee Margus Tsahkna also emphasised the importance of practical cooperation, and pointed out armoured maneuvering capability, medium-range air defence, and as a new field of cooperation, developing a joint maintenance and repair base in connection with self-propelled howitzers K9 as examples of joint capability development. “Estonia and Finland have to cooperate also in bringing the European Defence Fund and defence industry investments to our region,” Tsahkna said.
Today, the delegation met with Minister of Defence of Finland Jussi Niinistö and Chief of Defence of Finland General Jarmo Lindberg. Besides practical defence cooperation, the developments in defence cooperation in the European Union, the priorities of Finland’s security and defence policy during the Presidency of the EU Council in the second half of the next year, and hybrid threats will be spoken about at the meetings at the Ministry of Defence of Finland and the Eduskunta.
Besides Hannes Hanso and Margus Tsahkna, members of the National Defence Committee Marianne Mikko and Anneli Ott also participate in the visit.
The cooperation between the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu and the Defence Committee of the Eduskunta started in 1993, when a two-member delegation from the Defence Committee of the Eduskunta visited the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu. It is the longest interparliamentary cooperation of committees in the Riigikogu.
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