Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) held a video meeting with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, to discuss the role of the allies and their defense forces in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The prime minister said that the alliance has helped to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis.
"NATO has reacted fast to the global crisis, and helped the allies to coordinate their cooperation in helping each other. The allied defense forces have been instrumental in assisting the civilian side, in transporting medical supplies, setting up field hospitals, or supporting border controls," he brought out as examples.
"NATO´s deterrence is extremely important in the Baltic Sea region. For that reason, I am glad that all these activities, such as the NATO battle group at Tapa and the Baltic Air Security Mission at Ämari, have been carried out without issue," Ratas went on.
Ratas said this demonstrates the solidarity and unity of member countries, but also that NATO is ready to adapt to extensive challenges, so that the military capabilities of the member states have the potential to be implemented in solving civil crises.
Talked w/ @NATO's Secretary General today about alliance's activities as well as maintaining defense readiness under the COVID-19 outbreak.#NATO has done a great job in coordinating help among Allies. Thanked @jensstoltenberg for showing strong leadership in this matter. pic.twitter.com/PJ24SGRz22— Jüri Ratas (@ratasjuri) May 13, 2020
Ratas and Stoltenberg also discussed the effects of the pandemic crisis on the security environment more broadly. The prime minister stated that the COVID-19 crisis will have long-term effects on the economies of the member states.
"Estonia is unwaveringly committed to developing its military national defense, and that is why we have kept our defense budget at 2 percent for years," he said.
In Estonia, the defense forces sent a field hospital to support Kuressaare Hospital (now removed-ed.), and also helped other institutions with personal protective equipment. In supporting the Police and Border Guard Bard, the defense bodies were involved in the restoration of border control, wheer more than 300 members of the women`s voluntary defense organization (Naiskodukaitse) have helped in various locations and institutions across Estonia.
Editor: Roberta Vaino