Today, at the conclusion of the 34th Estonian National Defence Course (ENDC) at Roosta, Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso said that NATO is in the process of going back to those basic values that served as the reason for its creation – the Defence of Europe.
“Today, Allied aircraft taking part in air policing are stationed at Ämari Air Base, Allied ground forces are training there. The truth of the matter – that the threat of war has not disappeared from Europe – has resurfaced once again due to the unpredictable and aggressive behaviour of the Kremlin,” said Hanso. “In addition to actual contributions to increasing our security, we expect to see a change in the common narrative of the Alliance at NATO’s Warsaw Summit. What we are talking about here is not only the defence of Estonia’s borders, but also NATO’s borders. We have to get over the idea of someone coming to protect Estonia. Alliance members protect NATO territory, no matter where the challenges on the border may be,” said Hanso.
According to Hanso, Estonia’s objectives at the Warsaw Summit are to obtain growth in the presence of Allies in the region, the prepositioning of supplies and equipment here, and that our regional security threats should be a part of NATO's long-term planning process.
“We must be able to convince our allies that, when necessary, we all must contribute to something which is perhaps located far away from us, but which affects our lives and security. Each Alliance member must also support security on their own,” said Hanso. “Estonia is a valued partner among its allies, fulfilling the promises it has made and not seeking to simply consume collective security; but instead being ready, to the best of its ability, to contribute to its creation. We are one of those allies who have had to contribute 2% of GDP to national defence, and we are participating in several foreign missions, creating security outside of our immediate borders.“
The purpose of the Estonian National Defence Course, which concluded today, in Roosta, is to introduce Estonia’s security, foreign and defence policies, as well as its broad-based national defence concept, to an audience of Estonian politicians, senior state officials and servicemen, top economic and opinion leaders, cultural and educational practitioners, journalists and NGOs, in order to enhance cooperation and social cohesion in the field of national defence.
During the weeklong course participants received an overview of the state of international affairs in our region, military national defence, internal security and broad-based national defence and the newest developments in the military. Course participants also learned about the capabilities of Ämari Air Base.
The Estonian National Defence Course has been held since 1999. To date, some 1800 people have completed the biannual course.