Steinmeier: Germany has taken responsibility to increase Baltics security (5)
German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told in an interview with ETV that Germany has contributed to the security of the Baltic states since they regained independence and will take further measures to offer assurances.
Steinmeier said that in the light of the Ukraine crisis, he understands the security concerns of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania very well and his visits to the Baltic states are not merely a diplomatic gesture.
“Germany is doing its part to improve the defense abilities of the Baltic states. We are participating in the Baltic Air Policing mission, as well as monitoring the Baltic Sea. Germany will also lead the new NATO quick reaction force, and there will be military exercises in the Baltic states. Germany has taken the responsibility for increasing the security in the Baltics and we will carry it through.”
Steinmeier refused to confirm whether NATO would bring more troops to the Baltic states, citing complex coordination process with fellow members of the North Treaty Atlantic Organization, but emphasized again that the Article 5 is in place and with this comes the solidarity between the member states. Setting up a new regional NATO HQ in Szczecin, Poland, is also part of the organization's attempts to offer greater security assurance.
Steinmeier visited Tallinn last week. He also announced that Germany will support Estonia in the public media sphere, with the aim of strengthening civil society, promoting education and counterbalancing Russian disinformation.
Germany will also participate again in the Baltic Air Policing mission this year and four fighter jets will be based in Ämari Air Base. German troops will take part in the multinational military exercises in Estonia next year.
Germany is an important ally for Estonia both in NATO and the European Union. Last autumn, Germany supported the Baltic Air Policing mission from Ämari Air Base in Estonia, with four Luftwaffe Eurofighter Typhoon jets patrolling the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.