At the Baltic Assembly security seminar, held today at the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu Hannes Hanso emphasised that the Baltic States had to work in the name of joint defence cooperation and be reliable partners to NATO.
“If we speak together, our voice sounds three times louder. Therefore it is important for us to have coordinated positions between the Baltic States as well as in the European Union and NATO. Due to external events, we are entering an unpredictable security situation, where the existing foundations and cornerstones of our security have become questionable,” Hanso said.
“Although the defence expenses of the Baltic States have increased in recent times, it is necessary to contribute even more to ensure security. Two percent of GDP should not be seen as the ceiling of defence spending, but as the starting point or a minimum standard,” Hanso stated.
Hanso added that the presence of allies in the Baltic States was a protection not only to us, but to all NATO member states. “London, Paris and Berlin are also defended in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Both we and our allies have to understand that there is no separate and regional Baltic security. We have to ensure the security of the whole Europe and Trans-Atlantic space,” Hanso said.
Exchange of experience and presenting of common coordinated positions at important meetings, like the NATO Summits in Wales and Warsaw, were pointed out as good practice of Baltic cooperation by member of the Presidium of the Baltic Assembly and member of the National Defence Committee Johannes Kert.
“Baltic defence cooperation includes several successful joint projects, like the Baltic Defence College, air surveillance network BALTNET and the Baltic Battalion, and also intelligence and cyber defence projects. Cooperation in defence, security and border defence means taking responsibility together, joint projects and common political will,” Kert said.
The Baltic and Nordic parliamentary seminar organised by the Legal Affairs and Security Committee of the Baltic Assembly discusses the issues of Baltic defence cooperation, joint military procurements and cross-border cooperation.
The seminar is held in the Conference Hall of the Riigikogu and lasts until 4 p.m.