President meets with NATO secretary general in Brussels
President Kersti Kaljulaid met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Thursday. Stoltenberg acknowledged Estonia’s investment of more than 2% of its GDP in its national defense.
“The Warsaw summit directed the focus back to the principle of collective defense. Now these decisions have to be calmly put into practice,” Kaljulaid said.
Stoltenberg pointed out that the danger of cyber attack on NATO member states was on the increase, ETV’s “Aktuaalne Kaamera” newscast reported on Thursday evening. “We have agreed on more dense cooperation in cyber defense, as the cyber threat to all NATO members has increased,” Stoltenberg said, adding that this covered countries’ best action plans and surveys as well.
NATO and the European Union’s most important tool for cooperation was NATO’s center of excellence in Estonia, Stoltenberg said.
Kaljulaid pointed out that cyber defense was an area where a country’s size and population didn’t matter. “This is an area where Estonia clearly has a leading role, and contributes with ideas bilaterally as well as with NATO’s cyber defense center in Tallinn,” the president said.
Stoltenberg thanked Estonia for its continuing contribution to collective defense through its engagement in international missions, and said that its dedication to investing in its national defense in the amount of at least 2% of its gross domestic product set a positive example for other member states of the alliance.
Kaljulaid: New cooperation between EU and NATO a positive sign
In an interview with “Aktuaalne Kaamera”, President Kaljulaid said that Estonia was working very closely with the alliance members that were sending military units, and that it was working hard to make sure they found what they needed here.
“A strong deterrent and implementing the Warsaw agreements is a matter of the security of the alliance on the whole, not the problem of just one or the other country. NATO’s security can’t be devided up,” Kaljulaid said after her meeting with Stoltenberg.
The president also pointed out that the focus of NATO’s military measures and their effects on the civilian society matched with the EU’s priorities and worries. The union had decided to invest in studies related to its own defense, and this new cooperation was a positive sign, the president said.
Kaljulaid added that it was important that those EU members who also belonged to NATO were now paying more attention to their defense spending. The cooperation between the union and the alliance would focus on just that, and at the same time the EU was increasingly focusing on cyber defense and hybrid threats. “These are topics where there is no clear line between what is military, and what the risks of our everyday lives are,” Kaljulaid said.
Asked by ERR’s Johannes Tralla what she thought needed to be done to counter propaganda coming from Russia, Kaljulaid said that journalists needed to pay close attention to the sources they used. “Not every source is worth quoting. On the other hand, it is also important that there is a clear line: We know that there is propaganda, and our response isn’t counter-propaganda, but spreading balanced information,” the president added.