Opening remarks

by the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Roivas at the joint press point with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

  • 08 May. 2014
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  • Last updated: 09 May. 2014 11:15

Joint press point with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Prime Minister of Estonia, Taavi Roivas

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen, we'd like to start with a press conference of Prime Minister and Secretary General. And first of all, I'll give the floor to the Prime Minister.  (Interpretation Throughout)

TAAVI ROIVAS (Prime Minister of Estonia):  Ladies and Gentlemen, NATO has done a very good work.  And I express my personal thanks for that to the Secretary General.  And now NATO is also much more present in Estonia than it has been presently until now. 

The work of NATO is far from completion.  So it's still ongoing in our region. And we discussed how to make it stronger and how to make the presence of our Allies in our region a long lasting one. 

Something that is no less important is our contribution to our defence capability and our contribution to NATO's defence capability.  And Estonia is one of those NATO Allies who has always complied with the obligation in defence spending which has always been 2% of our GDP. And I also assured Secretary General that Estonia's future contribution will also be unconditionally the same 2% of our GDP. 

Very active preparations are underway for the summit in Wales this September.  And these preparations include collective defence; increasing the defence capability; increasing the security; but also Estonia's strong point which is cyber-defence. And I'm really delighted that the NATO representative managed to visit the Centre of Excellence of cyber-defence here in Tallinn.

I was also delighted to give the Secretary General a present which is a reminder of the Danish present (sic) here... presence here, namely a picture of the Danish F-16 at our air base in Ämari.  And I'm particularly delighted because the Danish fighters carry the flag of Denmark.  Now, that flag was actually born not far from here, just a couple of hundred meters.  And we're definitely going to make everything to make the Danish crew welcome here.  (...)

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: Thank you very much indeed Prime Minister for those kind words. It is indeed a great pleasure to be here in Tallinn and to see you again after your visit to NATO headquarters just a few weeks ago.

We thank you for hosting the North Atlantic Council, which is here on a working visit to explore how we can enhance the Alliance’s collective defence, how we can enhance our cyber defence.

Our visit is also a strong signal of our solidarity. This is a very important time for the Alliance. The crisis in Ukraine continues to have a significant impact on our work. We are responding with readiness, unity and resolve.

The entire Alliance stands with you. Our commitment to collective defence is rock solid. That is why the North Atlantic Council is here today. That is why Allies are deploying planes, ships and troops here to Estonia – and to other Allies from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea - to reinforce our collective security.

This crisis is a great challenge. To meet it, we must show solidarity. We must show resolve. And we must show leadership.

Estonia plays a leading role in cyber defence. We highly appreciate your contributions in this field. Allies have learned a lot from Estonia’s experience and expertise.

Estonia also leads by example when it comes to investing in its security and in the right defence capabilities. You spend the right amount, and you spent it smartly, including by cooperating with other Allies to get more for your investments. And you make a strong contribution to our operations.

In all this, Estonia is a model member of NATO. You lead by example. I will look to you to continue showing that leadership as we prepare for our NATO summit in Wales this September. And as we continue to adjust to the new reality we face.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine shows we cannot take security in Europe for granted. It shows that defence matters and that NATO provides for our collective defence.

As we prepare for our Summit, we will continue to safeguard the security and freedom of all our Allies. I count on your support.

Q:  Right now, there is a military training in Spain. And they're having a legend that Estonia will be attacked. And right now, we know that Russian troops are also gathering behind Estonian borders. And how would you estimate, in your visit to Estonia, how are those three things connected?  And do you really see any threats, any real threats to Baltics and Estonia?  Thank you. 

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN:  Actually, I think that because of Estonia's membership of NATO there's no imminent threat against Estonia.  But that's actually thanks to your membership of NATO; because any potential aggressor knows that an attack on Estonia or an attack on any Ally would be an attack on the whole Alliance.


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: And that's why collective defence and strengthening of collective defence is so important; because it serves to deter any aggression against NATO members. 


MODERATOR: We'll take one more.

Q:  Please, Mister Secretary General, I'm (inaudible), Finnish newspaper Helsinki Sanomat.  How do you plan to increase military presence in Estonia and Baltic States?  And more exactly, do you consider deploying middle- or long-range air defence missiles to Estonia or to Baltic States?

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: First of all, let me stress that we have already deployed to the Baltic States. We have enhanced air policing.  So you see now more aircrafts in the skies over the three Baltic States. We have deployed naval vessels to the Baltic Sea. So you see already deployments in this area, including land exercises.  Now, as regard future steps, we have not yet taken decisions.  But we are now considering further steps to further reinforce our collective defence.  And those further steps might include updated defence plans, new defence plans, enhanced exercises and also appropriate deployments.