Yesterday’s video meeting of the Defence Ministers of the Northern Group covered the topics of regional security, digital projects for military mobility, 5G security, defence, and climate neutrality.
The Estonian Ministry of Defence was represented at the meeting by Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm. The ministers discussed the situation regarding regional threats, which has deteriorated significantly due to the concentration of Russian Federation forces on the Ukrainian border and the escalation of the situation in Belarus. Members of the Northern Group are gravely concerned about the Russian Federation’s Zapad-2021 exercise, scheduled to take place during the summer, which will result in a significant increase in the presence and activity of Russian armed forces near the borders of Estonia and several other members of the Northern Group.
“The Northern Group is an important forum where we, among a group of like-minded countries, are able to focus on the most important security issues in the Baltic Sea region and strengthen the readiness of our countries through information exchange and other coordinated activities,” said Kusti Salm.
The countries of the Northern Group will continue with much-needed co-operation in the field of digitalisation of military mobility for the whole region, and will strengthen both national and international civil-military co-operation in the field of 5G.
When discussing climate neutrality, the ministers of defence agreed that environmental and climate issues are becoming increasingly important in the field of defence and security, and that we must be prepared to address the challenges posed by climate change. Support was also expressed for the idea that NATO’s Climate Change and Security Agenda would serve as an impetus for the development of a methodology for reducing the footprint left by defence. At today’s meeting, the ministers of defence decided to launch a workstream to combat climate change within the format of the Northern Group.
Estonia will head the Northern Group in the first half of 2021, and Finland will hold the presidency in the second half of the year. The Northern Group includes the Baltic and Nordic countries, Great Britain, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands.
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