Belgian Prime Minister meets with Belgian troops serving in Estonia

  • 2019-02-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, who started his visit to Estonia on Wednesday, met with the Belgian unit currently serving as part of the NATO battle group in the central training area of the Estonian defense forces.

The Belgian prime minister was accompanied by Estonian Minister of Defense Juri Luik.

Luik said that it is of utmost importance that the presence of allied forces in the Baltics and Poland be perceived as a joint effort by NATO. 

"With the decision to bring its unit to Estonia, Belgium shows that protecting Estonia means protecting the whole of NATO," Luik said, adding that Estonia has a long-term defense cooperation with Belgium covering all services.

"We warmly welcome the arrival of our ally," Luik said.

Belgium was the first state to guard the airspace over the three Baltic states from Lithuania in 2004. On two occasions, Belgian fighter aircraft have participated in the NATO air policing mission at the Amari air base in northwestern Estonia.

In May 2017, a logistics team of the Belgian armed forces attended a large-scale exercise Siil (Hedgehog) in Estonia. Additionally, the Estonian Navy has a long-term cooperation with the Belgian Navy and Belgian minesweepers visit Estonia regularly. Belgian air defense units have also regularly attended large-scale exercises held in Estonia in spring.