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The Minister of Defence Sven Mikser made a political statement before the Riigikogu in which he gave an overview of the NATO summit in Wales.

Mikser stressed that although the world has seen many dramatic events in the meantime, the security situation in Europe and its close neighbourhood has never yet been so complex and dangerous during these years as it is now. 

“Very rarely has the progress of the NATO summit and the wording of the decisions adopted there been observed with such attention and heightened expectations in Estonia as this time,” Mikser noted. In consideration of all that, he stated that the decisions and conclusions of earlier summits have never been so concordant with Estonia as the ones adopted this time. “We said already before going to Wales that this summit will have to be a summit which confirms the return of the Alliance to its original core function, that is, common defence of the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the allies,” Mikser said. In his opinion, we got a firm confirmation from Wales that all the allies take the NATO principles of collective security seriously and that all the allies are committed to the fulfilment of their responsibilities. 

Mikser said that the Estonian delegation had gone to the summit with five focal aims as to what we asked of our NATO allies in connection with the Ukrainian crisis and the strained security situation. First, we wished to see a visible presence of NATO in our region– in the air, on land as well as at sea. Second, we wished pre-positioning of NATO equipment on our territory. Third, we wished the reviewing of NATO defence plans so that they would correspond to the changed security situation. Fourth, we wished to see a rise of the readiness of the rapid response forces of the Alliance. Fifth, we wished the allies to give a confirmation that the decreasing of the defence spending would stop and all the allies would take a course towards increasing the defence spending to at least 2% of the GDP. 

Mikser noted that we had succeeded in achieving the majority of what we had wished. Certainly, there are aims the fulfilment of which still requires effort. However, we have never had an illusion that history should reach a happy end with the Wales summit. 

Besides the final declaration routinely approved at summits, the most important document adopted at this summit was the Alliance’s Readiness Action Plan. With the Readiness Action Plan approved in Wales, this new regular state of being received the confirmation of the NATO heads of states and governments. This new normality provides a framework for strengthening the security of Estonia and the whole eastern wing of NATO, in order to be ready to adequately respond to the security environment in Europe which has deteriorated due to Russia’s aggressive behaviour. Essentially, it is a totally new starting point for all NATO activities. 

Mikser stressed that, besides military force, security also needs firm will and strong mind – a belief that we can and will defend ourselves, and a trust in our allies who have confirmed their commitment to defend and support us. “Today, more than ever before, Estonia needs a balanced, responsible and argumented national defence debate, and not inflated emotions and unconstructive incitement of panic,” the Minister of Defence said. 

The representatives of factions Marianne Mikko and Urmas Reinsalu took the floor during the debate. 

The Riigikogu concluded the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Health Insurance Act (656 SE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction. The Bill is intended to give to persons receiving a pension for incapacity for work or an old-age pension and to insured persons of over 63 years of age who do not need dentures the possibility to use the amount intended for the benefit for dentures for their dental treatment. 

Photos: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2014/Riigikogu/11092014/

The recording of the sitting will be published: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu (with a delay)

The Riigikogu Press Service