PM: Estonia working in 5 areas to strengthen security

  • 2023-02-06
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – According to Estonia's new security policy concept, Estonia works in five closely related and mutually supportive areas of activity to strengthen its security, which form a whole and each part of which is of equal importance.

These five areas are the cohesion of society and the resilience of the state, economic security and vital services, internal security and public order, military defense, international activities.

"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link," Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said in her presentation on the updated security policy concept in the Riigikogu on Monday, in which she described the security environment that has become more tense, Estonia's goals and actions in it.

"We updated Estonia's security policy concept because the international security environment has deteriorated. Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. The COVID pandemic before that demonstrated the importance of the impacts of a civilian crisis. These trends have changed security policy thinking both in Estonia and in the free world more broadly," the premier said.

"Estonia's goal is and always has been to make aggression against the Estonian state impracticable," she stressed. "We are not making any crucial  changes to our security policy framework document, but we will be doing significantly more to ensure our own security given today's security environment, both ourselves and with our allies. We have raised our defense spending to a historically high level. At 2.85 percent of GDP, Estonia's defense spending in 2023 will cross the one billion euro mark. Already in 2022, we directed an additional 1.2 billion euros to military defense."

Speaking about the main changes that have been introduced in the security policy concept compared to the previous version from 2017, Kallas pointed out the designation of Russia as the biggest security threat.

"The goal of the Russian Federation is to dismantle and reshape the European security architecture and the rules-based world order, and to restore the politics of spheres of influence. The Russian threat has been known to us all along, but in the past it was not customary to talk about it so directly," she said.

The head of government added that we in Estonia have always been aware that our neighbor is aggressive and unpredictable.

"The main change compared to the past is that many allies and partners now share the same threat assessment. NATO's new strategic concept, which we adopted at the Madrid Summit of NATO leaders in 2022, also clearly states this," Kallas said.

The prime minister also spoke about the fact that it is existentially important for Estonia that we are part of the democratic community and that the democratic community remains united and strong.

"The past year has made it particularly clear what we've always known -- maintaining democracy is also part of security policy. To ensure security, we have to act across the spectrum, because the adversary will use all means to attack us," Kallas added.