Joint press point

with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid

  • 18 Nov. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 18 Nov. 2019 11:31

(As delivered)

President Kaljulaid,

Welcome to NATO headquarters. It’s great to see you again, and it’s great to see you here at the new NATO headquarters.

And many thanks for your strong personal commitment to our Alliance, to the Transatlantic bond.

We have now discussed different issues, including issues that are on our agenda as we prepare for the upcoming Leaders’ meeting in London in December. 

It is clear that a strong NATO is vital for our security, for peace and prosperity in Europe.

While we sometimes see differences among Allies, we continue to work together every day. And do more together.

To keep NATO strong, we must continue to adapt. With a modern Command Structure. With more forces at higher readiness. And with new requirements for protecting critical infrastructure, including 5G.

The Leaders’ meeting will also be an important opportunity to address fairer burden sharing within the Alliance. By the end of next year, European Allies and Canada will have added $100 billion extra for defence spending which makes a real difference.

I would like to thank Estonia for its valuable contributions to our shared security.  You lead by example by spending 2% of GDP on defence and you have done that actually for many years. Your troops are in Afghanistan where they help to train and advice the Afghan security forces to fight international terrorism, and you have volunteered your national cyber capabilities to NATO missions and operations. And you are a leading nation when it comes to cyber and cyber defence.

Next month, Estonia will host Cyber Coalition – one of the largest cyber defence exercises in the world. This is important for the whole of NATO with 1,000 experts from Europe and North America, where they will test their ability to defend NATO and national cyber networks. Such exercises contribute to our collective security. And demonstrate the importance of transatlantic unity.

So NATO benefits a lot from Estonia’s contributions. And Estonia benefits from being part of NATO, the strongest alliance in history. Allied jets keep your skies safe. Allied ships patrol the Baltic Sea. And NATO’s battlegroups in the region prevent conflict and preserve peace.

So we stand together, we value Estonia’s contributions to our Alliance, and once again, President, welcome to NATO.

[Remarks by the President of Estonia]

Question (Estonian TV) : [Inaudible] you were both talking about reinforcements and the defence of our region. But there are some missing links of capabilities, you Mr Stoltenberg, have mentioned a  couple of times that Allies are having discussions about how to improve air defence in the region. How far have this discussions gone now, will there be any news?

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: First of all I think it is important to realize that we have in general increased our presence and the readiness of our forces, meaning the fact that we have now battlegroups in the Baltic countries and in Poland. Combined with that we have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force and also increased the readiness of our forces in other ways. Meaning that if there is a need, NATO Allies will be able to quickly strengthen, reinforce, to deploy more forces also to the Baltic countries, including Estonia. We are also looking into the issue of air defence, because we always need to make sure that we have sufficient and adequate air defence. We have increased also our presence in the air, in the Baltic region with our air policing mission, but also with more exercises and also with more naval presence. All of this adds also to deal with challenges in the air. So we are working on it, but the baseline is that increased presence and increased readiness, also of course to address issues related to air defence.