TALLINN – Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said at a meeting of the defense ministers of the Northern Group in Oslo on Wednesday that the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO will improve Estonia's energy security.
"Finland and Sweden joining NATO will open up significantly greater opportunities for cooperation in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. Among other things, it will enable to increase both situational awareness and practical cooperation for the protection of critical energy connections in the Gulf of Finland," Pevkur said.
The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO has been approved by all members of the Northern Group that are part of the alliance.
"We all definitely look forward to and welcome Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. Although this will not solve all the security concerns of the Baltic states, it is a very important step to strengthen the defense of the region. The membership of Finland and Sweden will create an opportunity to essentially turn the Baltic Sea into a NATO internal sea," Pevkur said.
The Northern Group is a defense cooperation format that consists of 12 countries of the Baltic Sea and North Sea, including the Nordic and Baltic countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom.
"The Northern Group is an important forum where we can focus namely on issues concerning the Baltic Sea and North Sea region and discuss the region's security with close neighbors and allies. It was a pleasure to note that the political unity in this group is very strong," Pevkur said.
This time the meeting took place on board the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which arrived in Oslo.