Visit to NATO by the President of Estonia – Joint Press Conference

Joint press point by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Estonian President Ms Kersti Kaljulaid

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[Moderator] Good morning. The Secretary General and the President will make opening remarks. And then we’ll have time for just one question because of time restrictions. Secretary General. President Kaljulaid, Kersti, welcome to NATO headquarters. It is 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 which 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 defense 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 defense and you have done that for actually for many years. Your troops are in Afghanistan where they help to train and advise 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 defense. Next month, Estonia will host Cyber Coalition, one of the largest cyber defense 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 the world. Allied jets keep your skies safe. Allied ships patrol the Baltic Sea. And NATO 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.

Thank you, dear Secretary General. Dear ensign, thank you for the wonderful welcome and actually, also, thank you for pointing out that Estonia really is trying as much as possible to contribute to our multi-lateral security framework. Not only consume security. And we are indeed very proud to be helping wherever we can, and our technological capabilities, I believe, will also in the future work in the NATO context and framework to make sure that our free and Allied world does not fall behind as far as technology development is concerned. And also the involvement of this technological development and artificial intelligence in the military capabilities. I am very proud of what NATO under your leadership, and you have a very big personal role, in having managed the situation in Northeast, that how NATO’s capability to read this security picture and the risks we are facing currently and today, and to adequately respond and reply. We all know that NATO has 100% track record in providing deterrence, and indeed, this track record does not come from just because we have NATO. But because NATO is capable to adequately cause and also then to adequately react to the risk picture and the changing risk environment. And NATO’s posture in the Baltic region and in Estonia has gotten much, much stronger since 2014. Estonia, of course, is and has long been fully committed on spending 2%. In 2019 we spent 2.11% of the GDP because our host nation support needs to be at the level which makes our Allies want to keep returning to Estonia. To deploy from Estonia. We are very, very happy and proud that when I only last week visited eFP in Tapa, they were saying that even if two years ago the conditions were nice, then now the situation, the cooperation, the readiness to be immediately ready to act if necessary, the training capabilities and opportunities, they are much, much better. And also, there are always when we are exercising, new ideas which people have clearly gained from being present in the enhanced Forward Presence. So this tactical and technical cooperation in the Baltics, just in Estonia, is going forward wonderfully. Yes, we both know there is some administrative backlog and not all the documents we would have, maybe, expected by today to be approved based on our ways and also discussions have yet been. But I know you are personally working on these documents so that we could also be sure that we are having all the necessary planning procedures and processes into place. We are seriously hoping that this will also help to clarify here at the headquarters how we could then start to build on these development plans which we have not been able to approve. So indeed, NATO is functioning, NATO is continuing it’s really good track record in providing deterrence. NATO, as a defense organization of Allied states, is for us as important as ever. And also, as you have also rightly said during our meeting, we see that NATO is working hard to make sure that with this added money, which by 2020 there will be 100 billion more by NATO allies, useful spending to cover all the risks 360 degrees which we are facing, will be undertaken. Thank you.

[Moderator] We have time for one question. Estonian TV, lady over there. Yeah.

Estonian Public Broadcasting. (mumbles) You were both talking about reinforcement of defense in our region. But there are some missing links of capabilities, and you, Mr Stoltenberg, have mentioned a couple of times that Allies are having discussions how to improve air defense in the region. How far have these discussions gone now? Will there be any news on?

First of all, I think it is important to realize that we have, in general, increased our presence and our 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 Readiness 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, to reinforce, to deploy more forces also to the Baltic countries, including Estonia. We are also looking into the issue of air defense, because we always need to make sure that we have sufficient and adequate air defense. 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, address issues related to air defense.

[Moderator] Thank you very much. This concludes this Press Point, thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you. Thank you. Then I follow you.

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