Estonia Calls for More Baltic Cooperation

The Defense News
Gerard O’Dwyer
January 6, 2009

The Baltic nations set down a framework for closer security cooperation when the defense ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia convened in Lithuania on Dec. 4 to discuss a new platform for collaboration. The meeting was attended by Aaviksoo and his Baltic counterparts, Vinets Veldre of Latvia and Juozas Olekas of Lithuania.

“Equipment procurement costs are a huge factor that will determine the future capability of our national defense. We need to cooperate, and it is here where the most important advances in defense can be made,” Olekas said at the time.

The most recent evidence of interstate Baltic defense cooperation came during the second half of 2008, when the three nations contributed a joint infantry battalion to the NATO Response Forces NRF-14.

“As regards joint Baltic equipment procurement programs, this must also be seen as important against the tight economic conditions that prevail today that require that the resources available to small nations such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are used wisely. Interoperability of equipment is also important,” Aaviksoo said.

The Baltic states have already established a joint committee to examine the feasibility of a common air security strategy that could result in a common multirole aircraft procurement program. The committee is due to submit its report in 2010.