by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the joint press point with the Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas
Prime Minister Ratas,
It’s great to see you also again at the NATO Headquarters, and to welcome you here is really to welcome a close and very highly valued Ally of NATO.
And Estonia is a highly valued Ally, because you contribute to NATO in so many different ways. You contribute to our collective defence, to our shared security, to NATO missions and operations, and we are extremely grateful for that.
You host a multinational NATO battlegroup in Tapa, boosting our defence and deterrence.
And I remember I visited the battlegroup and it was extremely impressive to see the commitment and the professionalism of all the troops, and the way Estonia is hosting this battlegroup, so we are thankful for that.
Your troops are also in Afghanistan, helping train local forces to fight international terrorism.
And then of course Estonia leads by example by spending actually more than 2% on defence, 2% of GDP. This is important because you invest in modern capabilities, but it’s also important because you then lead by example and help me to convince other Allies to follow the example of Estonia.
Then Estonian leadership is also important in cyber. You play a key role in contributing to the adaptation, the strengthening of NATO’s cyber defences.
You have volunteered your national cyber capabilities to NATO missions and operations.
And you share best practices through the Cyber Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.
And you also host very important, valuable exercises, cyber defence exercises, building our resilience to cyber-attacks.
Last month in Tallinn, over 1,000 cyber experts took part in Locked Shields - the world’s largest live-fire cyber exercise.
And this month, your cyber experts joined conventional forces in exercise Spring Storm.
This brought together over 9,000 troops from 15 Allies and partners.
And provided training for one of four NATO battlegroups in the region.
Such exercises are part of our strengthened defence and deterrence.
So Prime Minister, dear Jüri, we have just discussed the upcoming meeting of NATO’s leaders, Heads of State and Government, in London in December this year.
We will mark, celebrate the 70th anniversary of our Alliance.
And it will also be a good opportunity, platform to chart the way forward as we continue to adapt NATO to a more demanding and difficult security environment.
But as long as we stand together, as long as we are united, we are safe and we are secure because NATO is the most successful Alliance in history. Because we have been able to stand united and deter any adversary.
So once again, thank you so much.
Thank you for coming here, thank you for hosting the battlegroup.
And NATO will continue to stay committed to the security of Estonia, with our battlegroups, with our air policing, and with our ironclad commitment to your security.
So once again, welcome.
Estonian Public Broadcasting: One problem in our region is air defence. Did you discuss the topic and what kind of next steps we could take?
NATO Secretary General: We discussed the topic and air defence is important. And therefore this will also be an issue that will be addressed at the upcoming Defence Ministerial meeting, of NATO Ministers, in June. First of all, NATO has increased its presence in the Baltic region with air policing, with the battlegroups. And we are also then looking into how we can make sure that we are delivering the necessary capabilities to always have the necessary readiness and strength of these battlegroups. Then we have to remember that NATO’s protection, NATO’s defence of all Allies, but including the Baltic countries, is not only dependent on the forces we have already deployed there, but is also dependent on our ability to quickly reinforce if we see a need to reinforce. And therefore, we have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force. We are now working on what we call the NATO Readiness Initiative, which will make us even more able to deploy forces and air defence systems to different parts of the Alliance, including to the Baltic States. So air defence is high on the agenda. Air defence is partly about what we can have stationed there, but also how we can quickly deploy additional capabilities if needed.