Joint press point
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas of Estonia
(Remarks as prepared)
Thank you, Prime Minister. I am very happy to be in Tallinn.
Estonia is a strong and committed Ally.
Estonian troops have made important contributions to our operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. And you are playing a leading role in strengthening the Alliance’s cyber defences.
Today we discussed the security challenges we face in our eastern neighbourhood due to Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.
At times like this, it is more important than ever to keep our Alliance strong. NATO’s greatest responsibility is to protect and defend our Allies. And NATO is here to protect and defend Estonia.
The German fighter jets we have seen are a strong sign of Allied solidarity. They are protecting your airspace. Every day.
In fact, the number of NATO jets in our Eastern skies has increased five times since the start of the year. We have deployed more ships in the Baltic and the Black Sea. This year, we are conducting over 200 NATO and national exercises in Europe.
And the presence of soldiers from across the Alliance shows the resolve of all Allies to stand with the Baltic nations. All for one. One for all.
We are working hard to turn the Readiness Action Plan we agreed at the Wales Summit into reality. This is the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. And it is my top priority to implement this plan in full and on time.
We are setting up a rapid reaction “Spearhead Force”, which will be able to deploy within days. At the Wales summit, we also decided to establish a command and control presence on the territory of our Eastern Allies. And to enhance our ability to quickly and effectively reinforce them. Including through pre-positioning equipment and supplies. We are now working on the best way to do that.
These measures will keep NATO safe. And keep Estonia safe.
It is also key that we keep the pledge we made at the Wales Summit to stop the cuts in our defence budgets. And to increase them as our economies recover.
Estonia has already reached the NATO guideline of spending 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product on defence. You did this despite the economic crisis. It is not easy, but you showed that it is possible. This shows that Estonia is leading by example.
So, Prime Minister thank you so much for your personal commitment to our Alliance. I count on your support to keep NATO strong.