Senior official sets out Estonian hopes for NATO summit

Kadri Peeters, the defence adviser to Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, said in an interview with Eesti Päevaleht that Estonia hopes for continued stay for the increased presence of NATO in the region.

Peeters emphasised that the allied presence in Estonia is already markedly more significant than just a few years ago. “NATO presence in the region is already significantly larger: we have air policing in Ämari [military airport in Estonia] and Šialuiali [military airport in Lithuania]; we have rotating US land forces in the Baltic states and Poland; NATO has increased operations at the Baltic Sea; regular exercises are planned.”

Ms Peeters compared this to the situation just two years ago. “In 2012, for example, the whole NATO presence comprised of four fighter jets in Šialuiai, Lithuania.”

Now Estonia hopes to get the leaders of NATO to agree a more certain perspective for this allied presence. “I sincerely hope that the Summit in Wales will affirm that this presence will continue. It will be difficult to put a definitive time frame on this, as nothing in the world is ‘permament’. But [the forces] will be here as long as required,” she said.

The Prime Minister’s defence adviser added that in the context of the NATO summit and the reassurance package for allies in the East, the option of stationing ‘significant combat forces’ to the region has not been on the table. “This refers to huge static forces like the ones that were stationed in Germany after the second World War. Estonia has never asked for such static forces to be stationed here,” stressed Ms Peeters.

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