Estonia needs a border agreement more than Russia and in the case of a missing border agreement, the question may arise whether it is possible to use Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Wednesday.
Answering questions from members of the Riigikogu on Wednesday, Kallas said that international developments are worrying. She said Estonia is cooperating very closely with Ukraine and is in full solidarity with the Czech Republic.
"All the crises show that we need a border agreement with the kind of neighbor we have," Kallas said. "We do not need confusion [regarding the border]. We need a border agreement more than Russia."
Kallas highlighted as positive the fact that, for the first time in a while, the foreign minister has been in contact with the Russian foreign minister and has looked at ways to proceed with the border agreement issue.
According to the head of government, the border agreement is a technical document and in its absence "it is possible to confuse the allies". Kallas pointed out, for example, that in the absence of a border agreement, in the event of a possible attack, the question may arise whether Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty can be used.
ERR News asked the government if NATO or another of Estonia's allies had ever suggested the border would be a problem in relation to Article 5.
A spokeswoman from the government office said: "NATO allies have never questioned that Estonia has a functioning and controllable border. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas pointed out that the border treaty is useful so that its absence cannot be exploited in disinformation campaigns. Legal clarity regarding the border would be beneficial."
In 1949, the primary aim of the North Atlantic Treaty – NATO's founding treaty – was to create a pact of mutual assistance to counter the risk that the Soviet Union would seek to extend its control of Eastern Europe to other parts of the continent.
Every participating country agreed that this form of solidarity was at the heart of the Treaty, effectively making Article 5 on collective defence a key component of the Alliance.
Article 5 provides that if a NATO Ally is the victim of an armed attack, each and every other member of the Alliance will consider this act of violence as an armed attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the Ally attacked.
Editor's note: Quotes from the government were added to this article.
Editor: Helen Wright