Estonian defense chief meets with EU, Baltic colleagues

  • 2020-07-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Commander of the Estonian defense forces, Maj. Gen. Martin Herem participated in a meeting of the European Union Military Committee, which was held in person for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday.

Herem also met with director-general for the European Union Military Staff, Vice-Admiral Herve Blejean, and commanders of the Latvian and Lithuanian defense forces.

Topics discussed at the meeting of the European Union Military Committee included the state of play of the EU Common Security and Defense Policy, the new strategic compass of the European Union aimed at harmonizing understanding of the security challenges faced by Europe and the EU security and defense policy's response to them. Also discussed were the current situation of EU military operations and training missions in the light of the effects of COVID-19, cooperation between the EU and NATO, and migration.

"In order to be relevant at a global level, we need to realistically assess the security situation around us and take all threats into consideration. The EU strategic compass is also meant to serve this purpose. While conventional threats, such as Russia are and will remain the preserve of NATO, the EU meanwhile has a very diverse toolbox at its disposal that is suitable for facing challenges in a variety of fields," Herem said.

"Even though COVID-19 is still preventing people from returning to normal life, at the defense forces' level we need to be prepared to relaunch our work on EU operations and missions at the earliest opportunity. I am pleased to see that the resumption of activities has already begun in a limited capacity. Despite the pandemic, the security situation continues to deteriorate in our partner states, which is why the presence of the EU and training there are needed," the commander of the Estonian defense forces said.

Topics discussed at the meeting of the commanders of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian defense forces focused on future directions in Baltic defense cooperation and regional capability development.

"Regional cooperation and capability building are tools enabling small states to develop credible military capabilities and achieve strategic effects. Together we can notably enhance the Baltic states' deterrence and defense capability and thereby also support the strategic plans of NATO in the region," Herem noted.

The Military Committee of the European Union is the body of the European Union's Common Security and Defense Policy that is composed of member states' chiefs of defense.