At the deliberation of the matter of significant national importance “Changed security situation in Europe” in the Riigikogu today, reports were by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet and the Minister of Defence Sven Mikser.
Mihkelson stressed that it is time to update the National Security Concept of Estonia and to urge the European Union to update the security strategy which dates from 2003.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee said that European security is being challenged simultaneously by Russia’s aggressiveness, the growing expansion of Islamic extremism in the Middle East and North Africa, the seemingly irrevocable rise of China to the global leader, and transnational global phenomena, such as cyber terrorism or poverty migration. Fighting the potential rapid spread of Ebola virus must also be taken very seriously, he said.
In his speech, Mihkelson focused on Russia’s activities over the last seven years. “In fact, Russia might be regarded as the number one challenge for the integrity of the whole Western world today,” he stated.
When speaking of the Estonian foreign and security policy, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu noted that the National Security Concept drafted by the Government needs updating, as the last updated version of this document dates from 2010.
When speaking about the European Union foreign and security policy, Mihkelson said that Estonia should direct the European Union to concentrate more on strategic thinking. “I claim that the deficiencies of the latter have partly contributed to the worsening of the security situation,” Mihkelson said, and asked rhetorically how it could be possible that so far the only security strategy of the European Union dated from 2003. “This was the time when the Union had only 15 members.”
Paet noted that our current international activities in the improvement of the security situation of Estonia have borne fruit. In the changed circumstances it is also necessary to review the basic documents of our foreign and security policy. “In today’s context I have in mind particularly the need to update both the national defence strategy and the document of the National Security Concept which entered into force in 2010,” Paet said. He explained that the new national defence strategy will be completed already this year, and the updated National Security Concept will be discussed by the new Riigikogu.
Mikser stressed: “Stable financing of national defence creates a stable development environment for our military national defence, but internal security must also be our priority, next to military national defence.” As Minister of Defence, Mikser is convinced that internal security cannot be developed at the expense of military defence capability development plans, just as it cannot be done vice versa. “We must constantly also look for synergy between internal security and military defence capability, and ensure possibilities of using all our resources to ensure internal security if necessary, and in operational planning, but also even to combat “little green men” and other asymmetric hybrid threats,” Mikser said. He expressed his delight that, in the next year’s state budget, great emphasis has been placed on building up the national military defence but, next to that, internal security, including the security of the state border of Estonia, has also been prioritised.
Mikser stressed that Estonia is well protected in today’s tense international security situation because we have efficiently developed our own independent primary defence capability and also been able to successfully mobilise our NATO allies in the changed circumstances.
Enn Eesmaa, Margus Hanson, Barbi Pilvre, Juhan Parts, Kalev Kallemets, Andres Herkel and Mailis Reps took the floor during the debate.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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