TALLINN - Head of the EU Military Committee Gen. Mikhail Kostarakos, who started a two-day visit to Estonia on Thursday, expressed his appreciation for the commitment of the Estonian defense forces and the authorities to the development of national defense and said that he supports Estonia in attaining the goals of the forthcoming Estonian EU presidency.
Estonia has been very active developing the EU's common security and defense policy and it is important for the EU to be able to maintain unity on different issues, the head of the EU Military Committee said according to spokespeople for the Estonian defense forces.
"I received an overview of the security situation in the region as well as the relations with Russia. I would like to emphasize our solidarity and closeness with Estonia on these subjects," Kostarakos said.
During a meeting with the commander of the Estonian defense forces, Gen. Riho Terras, transatlantic relations and the situation in the EU when it comes to terrorism were discussed, in addition to matters of regional security.
Terras said that the EU is now paying significantly more attention to military development and defense than ever before. "Particularly important for us are the fields where the EU is strong, such as cyber defense, but also the topics of police and interior security, developing of which Estonia supports as well," Terras added.
The EU military chief is scheduled to meet during his visit here also with President Kersti Kaljulaid, Defense Minister Margus Tsahkna, Secretary General of the Defense Ministry Jonatan Vseviov, and the Estonian vice minister for EU affairs, Matti Maasikas.
On Thursday morning, Kostarakos laid a wreath at the monument to the victory in the War of Independence, whereas in the evening he is scheduled to take part in the opening event of this year's liverwort flower campaign aimed at supporting injured soldiers.
On Friday, Kostarakos will be in the southern city of Tartu where he will meet with the head of the Baltic Defense College, Maj. Gen. Andis Dilans, and deliver a lecture on security and defense. In the afternoon the general will visit Tapa to look at the training and activities of the 1st Infantry Brigade.
The EU Military Committee is the highest military body in the EU that brings together the national chiefs of defense of all the member states. The committee provides the Political and Security Committee (PSC) with advice and recommendations on all military matters within the EU. In addition, Kostarakos provides military advice to the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini.
At the moment, Estonia takes part in the EUTM mission in Mali and in the EUNAVFOR Med/Sophia mission in the Mediterranean, speaking of EU military missions. Previously Estonian personnel have participated in the Althea mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the anti-piracy operation Atalanta, as well as served as part of the Nordic Battle Group.