On 4-5 April, a meeting of Defence Ministers from NATO’s eastern wing, or B9 countries, took place, in Warsaw, hosted by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Polish Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak.
‘Estonia and the other countries located on NATO's eastern wing are all in agreement that there are still some kinks in NATO’s defence and deterrence posture, in terms of planning, the strength of reinforcements and air defence,’ said Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kristjan Prikk.
‘At the meeting, military contributions to NATO's Readiness Initiative, in the framework of which high readiness ground, air and sea capabilities will be created by 2020, were also discussed,’ added Prikk.
The discussion by B9 countries regarding European defence cooperation initiatives and the future was led by Romania, the holder of the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
‘By consensus, the need to cooperate closely in the European Union with our strategic partners – the United States and Great Britain – in the field of PESCO, the European Defence Fund and the field of military mobility, was emphasised,’ noted Prikk.
Permanent Under Secretary Prikk engaged in bilateral talks with Polish Deputy Minister of Defence Tomasz Szatkowski, with whom he discussed NATO’s Command Structure and the positioning of forces in the Baltic region.
‘Estonia and Poland are connected by very close and visible defence cooperation. Poland contributes to Baltic air defence as well as the allied combat group stationed in Latvia, and will soon be contributing to Headquarters Multinational Division North, led by Estonia, Latvia and Denmark,’ emphasised Prikk. In addition, Poland will be participating in the training exercise Spring Storm 2019.
The B9 countries are Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Hungary. A representative from the United States also typically participates in B9 meetings