London, 6 August 2019 – at a meeting with Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas emphasized that the United Kingdom is and will remain an important partner to Estonia, the European Union, and NATO in assuring the security of Europe. Ratas and Johnson also discussed topics related to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas confirmed that Estonia would like to establish an even tighter partnership and cooperation with the United Kingdom in the future. “We are united by active cooperation in the fields of security as well as cyber and digital affairs, but also by a close cooperation in different international organisations, especially NATO. We are hoping to continue our close and open cooperation with the new government of the United Kingdom,” said Ratas and also invited Prime Minister Boris Johnson to visit Estonia.
On the topic of defence cooperation, Ratas reiterated that Estonia highly appreciates the British contribution in the Baltic Sea region in assuring the security of NATO as a whole. “The UK has been present here from the time of the War of Independence; this summer, the British forces were present in Estonia on land, in the air and on the sea. Our defence cooperation in Europe as well as on the NATO mission in Afghanistan is a great example of the unity of the allies,” Ratas said.
The Prime Minister said that it is important to the European Union that the UK leave the EU in accordance with a contract that is commonly agreed upon. Ratas stressed the importance of continuing tight and close relations even after the UK exiting the European Union. “The United Kingdom is and will remain our close partner and friend in Europe as well as an important ally in NATO. We are united by common interests and cooperation in several fields, from security to economy,” Ratas said.
“We received an important reassurance that the UK leaving the European Union does not mean they are leaving Europe, and our mutual defence cooperation will continue,” Ratas said. Prime Minister Johnson confirmed that the rights of Estonian citizens residing in the UK will be protected even after the UK leaves the European Union.
The Prime Ministers also discussed the cooperation between Estonia and the United Kingdom in digital and cyber security and expressed their satisfaction over its continuous intensifying. Prime Minister Johnson expressed a great interest in the potential for cooperation in the field of digital health care.
Ratas also invited Johnson to participate Tallinn Digital Summit in September.
The United Kingdom is present with over 1,000 members of the Defence Forces in the NATO battlegroup in Tapa. Currently, the UK destroyers are at the Air Policing Mission in Ämari. British representatives are also participating in the NATO Force Integration Unit NFIU and the NATO Cyber Defence Centre operations. Members of the Estonian and British Defence League are serving together in Afghanistan, on the NATO Resolute Support mission, and working together in JEF, the UK Joint Expeditionary Force.