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Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen: Our security starts in the Baltics

21.04.2017  12:42
Danish, British, French and Estonian soldiers will help strengthen security in the Baltic Sea region as part of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP). On 20 April 2017, Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen was in Estonia to mark this.

The emergence of NATO forces in the Baltics was highlighted in Tapa, Estonia. At the official opening ceremony, the Defense Minister, together with his Estonian and British colleagues Margus Tsahkna and Sir Michael Fallon, and the French ambassador Claudia Delmas-Scherer held a speech for several hundred international forces from respectively Estonia, United Kingdom, France and Denmark:

"As close NATO Allies, our security starts here in the Baltic States. In recent years, we have experienced a worrying development close to NATO's eastern borders only about 100 kilometers from where we stand today. Therefore, it is also natural that we strengthen security in the Baltics so that we maintain the basis for dialogue with Russia."

"According to the legend, Dannebrog descended from heaven here in Estonia not far from where we stand today. But about 800 years later now, we are not alone under Danish, British, Estonian or French flags - but we are under NATO's flag shoulder to shoulder with our close allies. It is the signal we send with our prominent presence here in the Baltic States – a signal of solidarity and unity."

Right now, three Danish staff officers have been sent to Estonia to support the work of British and French soldiers and as part of preparations for up to 200 Danish soldiers arriving in Estonia around the turn of the year 2017/2018. Here, the Danish forces will take over after their French colleagues and thus join the British-led battle team in the course of 2018 in total of 1,000 men.

The decision to deploy military forces to the three Baltic countries and Poland was taken at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in 2016 as a defensive and proportional response to Russia's increasing activity and progress in the Baltic region.
(Danish Ministry of Defence, 20.04.2017)

* See more photos from the ceremony (ERR) here
* News item on Estonian Ministry of Defence website (in English), including declaration about the establishment of an enhanced Forward Presence, signed by the the Estonian Minister of Defence Mr. Margus Tsahkna, Secretary of State for Defence of the UK Sir Michael Fallon, Minister of Defence of Denmark Claus Hjort Frederiksen, and the Ambassador of France to Estonia Mrs. Claudia Delmas-Scherer, after the ceremony.
* See video of the press conference with Claus Hjort Frederiksen, Margus Tsahkna, Sir Michael Fallon and Claudia Delmas-Scherer here.

(Photo: ERR)