Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said, that it was Estonia's priority to ensure the continued strength of NATO's deterrence and collective defense. Kallas added, that the decisions made at the Vilnius summit must approve NATO's new defense plans and open the path for Ukraine's accession to the alliance.
"Russia is and remains, a threat. This is why NATO member states must make bigger and long-term investments in their defense. Estonia's aim is to achieve an agreement on NATO's defense spending, with every NATO member state guaranteeing 2 percent of GDP for defense spending and 2.5 percent of GDP in the long term," said Kallas.
"Estonia's defense spending will reach 3 percent of GDP. This is how we are showing an example to the other Allies. We are also expecting the approval of NATO's new defense plans in Vilnius, which would be backed up with forces and capabilities," the prime minister added.
Kallas also said, that Ukraine would be a focus of the summit. "It is Estonia's position, that lasting peace in Europe is only possible if we eliminate all grey areas in European security. This is why it is important to agree on specific steps in Vilnius, which would open the path to NATO membership for Ukraine," Kallas said.
"We must also quickly complete Sweden's accession into NATO," she said.
Estonian Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said, that in addition to strong messages of support for Ukraine, Estonia's priorities included the adoption of defense plans.
"We are expecting the NATO summit in Vilnius to send a strong message that we have moved forward from the decisions of the Madrid summit and are making a permanent transition to a reinforced defense posture," said Pevkur.
"NATO's defense plans are no longer about taking back territory, instead they talk about active defense from the very first inch of territory. These are completely in line with Estonia's own defense plans, which we have been updating for years in accordance with the security environment. Estonia's security has become significantly stronger as a result," he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200), also noted that all issues related to Ukraine were the most important topics during the Vilnius Summit.
"Ukraine needs continued support from NATO Allies and Estonia is doing its best to make the summit a success for Ukraine," Tsahkna said. "The summit should result in a clear assurance that Ukraine will become a NATO member, and an agreement must be made on how this objective is to be reached."
NATO's Vilnius Summit will focus on reinforcing the Alliance's defense and deterrence posture, approving new defense plans and support for Ukraine. The inaugural meeting of a new NATO-Ukraine Council will also be held at the summit, with the aim of demonstrating NATO's unity in its continued political and practical support for Ukraine. The summit will also cover NATO's cooperation with its strategic partners in Asia and the Pacific – Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.
A joint declaration of the summit is also planned.
During the summit, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas will hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovačevski and Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida.
Kallas will also have brief meetings on the sidelines of the summit with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President of South Korea Yoon Suk Yeol.
Prime Minister Kallas will speak at the opening panel of NATO's Public Forum, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš and Chair of NATO's Military Committee Admiral Rob Bauer. The focus of the panel discussion is the need to reinforce NATO's defense and deterrence posture.
The discussion begins at 9.35 a.m. Estonian time on Tuesday July 11 and can be watched live here.
Also on the sidelines of the NATO summit, the defense ministers of the three Baltic countries are set to sign a joint declaration for cooperation on airspace, which calls on NATO Allies to deploy air defenses to the Alliance's Eastern Flank ,as well as outlining the enhanced hosting capabilities of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Estonian Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur will attend the informal defense ministers meeting of the North Atlantic Council.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna will have bilateral meetings with the Greek foreign minister Giorgos Gerapetritis and Georgian foreign minister Ilia Darchiashvili. Tsahkna will also attend the informal foreign ministers meeting of the North Atlantic Council and briefly meet with Norwegian foreign minister Anniken Huitfeldt on the sidelines of the summit.
Editor: Michael Cole