Stenbock House, 17 June 2019 – Prime Minister Jüri Ratas expressed appreciation to the Estonian soldiers who have served in international missions and their loved ones at a reception that was held in their honour. The members of the Defence Forces and their family members gathered in the Stenbock House were greeted by Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and Major General Martin Herem, Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces.
According to Jüri Ratas, Estonia’s security is strengthened by ensuring peace in very distant places in cooperation with our allies as well as in our homes where the members of the Defence Forces find love and support in their families. This all provides more certainty that Estonia will be jointly helped in exactly the same way if necessary. “You are at the forefront of our national defence policy and security and I dare even say you are a step beyond the front line,” said the prime minister and added that the state’s defenders can count on the state for support.
The State Budget Strategy, approved at the end of May, continues to spend over two per cent of the gross domestic product to develop national defence. Additional funds have been allocated for hosting allies and financing the Defence Investment Programme. Particular attention is paid to providing soldiers with more modern weaponry and personal protective equipment.
Ratas emphasised that Estonian soldiers have an undeniably high reputation among allies. “I received confirmation of this last spring in Lebanon and last October in Mali. Not only are you committed to the security of Estonia, your families, or our region, but the security of the whole world,” said the prime minister and also thanked those members of the Defence Forces who are currently serving in foreign missions.
“Through your work and contribution, you have given many people the courage and confidence to live in their own homes, which is invaluable. Thank you for that,” added Major General Martin Herem, Commander of the Defence Forces.
The reception was attended by members of the Estonian Defence Forces who have served in the NATO mission Resolute Support in Afghanistan, the UN peacekeeping mission UNTSO in Syria, Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, the EU NAVFOR Mediterranean military operation for neutralising refugee smuggling routes, and Operation Barkhane and the European Union Training Mission in Mali.
Photo: Jürgen Randma / Government Communication Unit and Warrant Officer Ardi Hallismaa / Defence Forces