Nordic, Baltic countries hold security consultations with US
Consultations on security-related topics between the Baltic and Nordic countries and the US took place in Washington earlier this week, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
At the meeting of political directors in the E-PINE (Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe) cooperation format for Northern European and Baltic countries and representatives of the US, issues discussed included the current state of affairs and future of transatlantic cooperation, cooperation between the US and Nordic and Baltic countries, energy security, migration issues, the fight against terrorism as well as relations with Russia, ministry spokesperson Sandra Kamilova said.
Other topics discussed at the meetings, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday, included NATO's central role in maintaining and developing transatlantic relations.
"It was emphasized that Europe must increase its commitment to security, including by increasing defense spending," said Paul Teesalu, director of the Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who represented Estonia at the meetings in Washington.
In addition to these meetings, an exchange of thoughts with representatives of Washington-based think tanks took place in the course of which the formation of the foreign policy of the incoming US administration was discussed, among other things.
"The conviction was expressed that the present US foreign policy with regard to Europe will basically continue," said Teesalu.
The Estonian foreign ministry representative also took part in extended Baltic-US security talks wherein practical opportunities for deepening regional cooperation in the fields of defense and internal security were examined.
Teesalu also took part in meetings with the US Congress in which Estonian-US relations were discussed.
E-PINE is one of the partner formats of the Baltic-Nordic cooperation format NB8.
"In addition to strictly regional cooperation, NB8 cooperation has expanded into partner formats," Kamilova explained. "Among the most important of them is the Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe, or E-PINE, launched by the US in 2003. E-PINE evolved from the regular NB8+USA meetings, aimed primarily at increasing freedom, security and economic wellbeing in the region and its immediate neighborhood, including Moldova, Ukraine, South Caucasus and Belarus."