Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) met with German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht in Berlin on Thursday, where he commended Germany for the vital steps it has taken thus far to strengthen the defense of NATO's eastern flank and to support Ukraine.
"After Russia's attack on Ukraine, the shift in security thinking in Germany has been so remarkable that the Germans even have a term for it — Zeitenwende, or turning point," Pevkur said according to a press release. "Assistance from Germany to Ukraine — including artillery, missile launchers and air defense systems, which are particularly needed by the Ukrainians — has been outstanding."
At NATO's Madrid summit in June, Germany very clearly supported the concept of a forward defense posture — one that is essential for NATO's flank and has subsequently allocated an entire German brigade to the defense of Lithuania, he highlighted.
"Germany has also been one of the most active contributors to the Baltic Air Policing mission," he added.
At their meeting, Lambrecht acknowledged that the Baltic countries and Baltic Sea region as a whole are of strategic importance for European security.
"We will continue to work together within NATO to strengthen the eastern flank," she said.
Germany is currently contributing to the security of the Baltic states as the framework country for NATO Battlegroup Lithuania and took over the Baltic Air Policing mission based out of Estonia's Ämari Air Base in August. Lambrecht also made note of Baltic Tiger, the joint German-Estonian military exercise held in Estonia last month.
In addition to further support for Ukraine, the two ministers also discussed improving European defense capabilities, security in the region as well as opportunities for defense industry development through bilateral cooperation.
"German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has said that Germany, the largest country in terms of geography, economy and population, could be the European leader in security," Pevkur said. "We support the idea that Germany, through the development of its defense forces, can set an example for the rest of Europe to follow and help shift the defense industry into the next gear."
Lambrecht highlighted the German-led European Sky Shield Initiative, of which Estonia was one of 15 countries to join. She said that air defense shortcomings in Europe are nothing new, but that action is now being taken as part of the Zeitenwende, adding that this provides an opportunity to cooperate on resource use, speeding up action as well as shaping market pricing.
During his visit to Germany, Pevkur also met with Bundestag Defense Committee chair Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, honorary consuls as well as defense industry representatives. Pevkur and Lambrecht laid wreaths at the Bundeswehr Memorial as well.
Editor: Aili Vahtla