Head of the Estonian Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (PA) Marko Mihkelson, delegation member Oudekki Loone (Centre) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) are in Brussels on Tuesday to attend the pre-Summit meeting of the NATO PA.
Mihkelson explained that before the Summit, members of NATO member parliaments met in Brussels to discuss the priorities of the Summit and the expectations the countries had regarding its results, according to a Riigikogu press release.
"We will focus on the importance of the transatlantic link," Mihkelson said, emphasising that the most important aspects thereof were NATO's unity and reliability.
In his opinion, allied governments must reach a consensus at the Summit on meeting the previously agreed-upon 2% target in defence spending as well as achieving a fairer division of the burden in defence spending and contributions to operations.
"From Estonia's point of view, NATO's continued presence on the eastern flank of the alliance is relevant and protects Europe against possible Russian aggression," he said.
According to Loone, NATO, like many other international organisations, is currently at a crossroads and has to decide on its future path. "This is why NATO parliamentary-level discussions that enable a strategic approach to the whole alliance are especially important," she explained. "It is in Estonia's interests that NATO leaves behind its Cold War past and enters the future as an alliance of equals which enables the shared use of knowledge, technology, and standards, and the effective and functional protection of its members."
At Tuesday's meeting in Brussels, NATO PA President Paolo Alli was to provide an overview of the priorities and expectations of the NATO PA, as well as present the views of allied legislators on key issues affecting the alliance at the Summit of NATO Heads of State and Government.
In his address, Alli was to discuss the strenghtening of NATO's collective defence arrangements, the continuation of NATO's dialogue with Russia, as well as the alliance's role in combating terrorism and projecting stability in its neighbourhood. He was also to discuss progress in NATO-EU cooperation, the modernisation of the alliance as well as the next steps in NATO's open door policy, including support for an invitation to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to begin accession talks.
Editor: Aili Vahtla