Defense minister Margus Tsahkna (IRL) met with his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist on Tuesday. The ministers discussed the security situation in Europe as well as defense cooperation between the two countries. Hultqvist said that Sweden took the changes taking place very seriously.
“After the annexation of Crimea, and Russia’s continually aggressive behavior, Sweden takes the security situation very seriously and has decided to restore conscript service,” Tsahkna said. “This is a very noteworthy development. Sweden is taking specific steps, quickly recovering military capabilities previously frozen, and is strengthening its total defense system,” he added.
The ministers discussed defense cooperation of the two countries within different frameworks. Sweden is planning to take part in this year’s Spring Storm, Estonia’s biggest annual training exercise, while Estonia decided to participate in the international Swedish exercise Aurora in September.
Aurora is scheduled to take place at about the same time as Russia’s Zapad 2017 exercise. More than 19,000 military personnel are to take part in Aurora, which will make it Sweden’s biggest exercise in 23 years.
Tsahkna introduced his Swedish colleague to Estonia’s defense priorities during its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union. The most important of these priorities are increasing European countries’ defense spending, raising the defensive capability of the EU, and organizing an exercise for defense ministers that focuses on European security.
The two ministers also discussed expanding the practical cooperation of NATO with the EU.
In a meeting with the commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, Gen. Micael Byden, Tsahkna got an overview of the large-scale reforms currently taking place in the Swedish Armed Forces.
Sweden and Estonia have a history of defense cooperation, with most of the equipment of the Estonian Land Forces originally coming from Sweden.
Editor: Dario Cavegn