Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence Kusti Salm presented mission medals to the French soldiers and officers in the NATO Battlegroup, who have been serving with the UK-led NATO Battlegroup since September of last year. The French unit is comprised of the 5th Dragoon Regiment of the French Army.
Continuity in the strengthening of the eFP mission is crucial given the significantly worsened security situation where Russian leadership threatens the peace and security of the democratic nations of Europe, said Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm in his speech.
“We must be prepared and vigilant. Battlegroups remain an invaluable instrument of deterrence and defence. The contribution of French, British and Danish units to the defence of Estonia, as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, is vital in terms of keeping the peace,” he added.
“This medal is recognition for our military commitment, having served shoulder-to-shoulder with our Estonian and British partners in the framework of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence here in Estonia,” said Colonel Eric Mauger, Commander of the French contingent in Tapa.
“We will proudly wear this medal and we thank Estonia for being our steadfast partner in Europe and in NATO. It has been both an honour and a privilege to be part of Estonia’s defence. Our deployment has given us a very good opportunity to focus on our ability to operate together, and present a credible deterrence to any threat,” added Colonel Mauger.
As of 2021, French Army units have been serving in Tapa as part of the NATO Battlegroup for four consecutive 3-month rotations.
The lead countries for NATO Battlegroups in the Baltic States are the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and the United States, with Battlegroups established in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland in 2017.