Minister: Finland NATO membership spells a new era
Finland's imminent accession to the NATO alliance represents a significant historic development for the organization, the region and for Estonian-Finnish relations, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) says.
"We are living at a historic point in time - Finland's accession to NATO brings with it a new era, not only for the Baltic Sea region, but also for our bilateral defense cooperation," Pevkur said Monday.
"Finland and Sweden joining NATO will significantly increase our region's security – though it is not some 'magic bullet' that will resolve all the security challenges facing our region. In other words, this is but the start, and although our defensive cooperation with Finland has already been strong, it will move to the next level after our northern neighbors join the alliance," the minister continued, via a press release.
Pevkur made his remarks following a meeting with his Finnish opposite number Mikko Savola in Tallinn Monday.
In addition to Finland's impending NATO membership, the two ministers discussed sending additional aid to Ukraine, ahead of a meeting in Ramstein, Germany, this Friday, which will include both Estonia and Finland.
"I was glad to hear that we are in agreement on the topic of helping Ukraine - the next aid package must be as strong as possible, and give Ukraine the kind of help they need most now," he added.
Finland has so far supported Ukraine to a total of €300 million, €190 million of which concerned military said, via 11 rounds of packages, while Estonia's support volume, with a much smaller economy and population, comes to a comparable €257 million the defense ministry says.
Pevkur and Savola, who took office January 5, also discussed bilateral opportunities for cooperation in the defense industry and within the context of the NATO divisional structure to be created in Estonia.
Mikko Savola (Keskusta) has chaired the Estonian-Finnish friendship group at the Eduskunta, the Finnish parliament.
Finland, along with Sweden, applied to join NATO last year, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Its membership has been ratified by all member states save Turkey and Hungary.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte