Minister of Defense Sven Mikser bestowed his ministry’s Cross of Merit 1st class on former prime minister Andrus Ansip for long years of service in building the national defence system, the ministry said in a statement.
Mikser said in handing over the decoration that Ansip, who stepped down in 2014, made a noteworthy contribution to ensuring that Estonia would be better defended and that the country would be a trustworthy ally in NATO.
“During the Ansip administration, Estonia put together the first long-term national defense development plan to be based on realistic resources and ensured sustainable state budget funding for the plan. As a result, Estonia is today one of the few NATO members that spends 2 percent of its GDP on military defence,” said Mikser.
Mikser added that Ansip’s tenure also marked an era when Estonia embarked on a road to a comprehensive view of national defense and prioritization of cyber defense.
The Ansip-led Cabinet took important steps to create the preconditions for increasing allied presence in Estonia and elsewhere on NATO’s eastern border. A sign of this is the renovation of Ämari Air Base, which is used today by NATO Air Policing Mission fighter aircraft.
Ansip also presided over the introduction of the government’s veterans policy, which established additional social guarantees for Defence Forces members.
Editor: K. Rikken