Ratas thanked Spain for its contribution to the defence of Estonia and the whole of NATO

Jul 18
Created: 18 July 2017

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas thanked Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy, who visited Ämari Air Base today, for Spain’s contribution to the defence of Estonia, and thus the whole of NATO.

“Spain is a strong contributor to the defence of the Baltic States,” Prime Minister Ratas said. “Estonia, in its turn, contributes with its troops and participates in civil missions in the southern neighbourhood of Europe. Instability in the southern neighbourhood of Europe, including extremism, influences the whole of Europe. In defence cooperation, solidarity and relying on the strengths of each other are invaluable.” 

From May to August of this year, four F-18 fighters are located at Ämari Air Base as part of the Baltic Air Policing Mission. 350 Spanish troops serve in Latvia.

During the brief visit, Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik also met his Spanish colleague Maria Dolores de Cospedal at Ämari. “Spain’s participation in ensuring the security of the Baltic Sea, both through air policing in Estonia and the enhanced presence of allies in Latvia, is a strong sign of solidarity. Spain also participates in the work of the NATO’s cyber defence centre in Tallinn. And we consider it important to contribute to the security of the countries of southern Europe, where we have just increased Estonia’s participation in the EU’s Mediterranean operation SOPHIA,” Defence Minister Jüri Luik said.

At the meeting, Estonian ministers confirmed that the security of Europe, including the fight against terrorism, is one of the most important topics of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. In this sector, the work to make information exchange between member states more effective continues, and solutions are being sought to support countries facing the return of foreign fighters.

Solving the migration crisis is also an important issue for the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Spain has rescued around a hundred people on the Mediterranean and near the Canary Islands recently and is actively participating in combating human trafficking and strengthening border control. “Spain has successfully cooperated with third countries, for example, by concluding agreements with African countries. Their experience should certainly be made use of,” Prime Minister Ratas found.