TALLINN - Estonian Minister of Defense Urmas Reinsalu stated in an official speech that if Europe wishes to preserve safety and security at the existing levels in the region, no concessions on defense budgets can be made even in financially unstable times, said the Estonian Defense Ministry, reports LETA. Reinsalu said that the existing security in Europe rests on joint efforts to solve problems by peaceful means.
“We likely would never have been able to speak about peace in Europe without NATO and the EU. These organizations have paved the way for an undivided and free Europe, and since the moment they were created they have stood by Europe at every crossroad,” Reinsalu asserted.
Further, the Minister of Defense pointed out the continued need to provide security and to maintain defense budgets at the necessary levels. “The financial crisis has also exerted pressure on defense budgets; however, if we wish to continue to provide security at the existing levels, there can be no compromise at the expense of capability development,” added Reinsalu.
According to the Minister of Defense, one solution to the budget dilemma is to allocate and integrate resources more than they have been to date. “To this end, each NATO and EU member needs to give its best to make more efficient use of existing NATO and EU resources, as the organizations share similar objectives,” said Reinsalu.
The topic of this year’s ABCD (Annual Baltic Conference on Defense) conference, held Sept. 19-20, was the arrival of Europe’s security and defense policy at a strategic crossroads. Discussions addressed those lessons and issues from the wars and conflicts of the past ten years that have not received any attention. Consideration was also to be given to the next ten years, analyzing Europe’s options for providing a security and defense policy. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Defense and the International Center for Research Studies.
The attendees included several international security specialists, general officers and higher officials, including Admiral James G. Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, NATO; Rear Admiral Mark C. Montgomery, Deputy Director, Plans, Policy and Strategy, United States European Command; and Dr. Liam Fox, former Defense Secretary, United Kingdom.
Homeland security under threat
Estonian Security Police director general Raivo Aeg says that the interest of Russian intelligence services toward Estonia has considerably increased this year and the attempts to recruit “future traitors” from among Estonian citizens have also become more frequent.
“The number of ascertained recruitment attempts by the FSB exceeded this year already in September the total number of the whole of last year by a third,” Aeg wrote in Eesti Ekspress’ supplement State Defense.
“The so-called internal security service FSB has become more active towards Estonia and its inhabitants. In more Western-located NATO states, the foreign intelligence service SVR has gotten caught with its activities more. Russian Special Services seem to refuse to recognize that Estonia and the other former occupied states are for them now irretrievably a foreign country, not a part of Russia or a notional Soviet Union,” Aeg wrote.
Aeg wrote that an Estonian inhabitant is more likely to get noticed by FSB if he or someone among people close to him has access to information the intelligence is interested in, and the focus is especially on people who have weaknesses that can be used against them.