Tapa, Estonia - Commander JFC Brunssum, General Salvatore Farina, together with Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Sir James Everard, attended the welcoming ceremony for the enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Estonia at the Tapa military base, on Thursday, April 20th. The event was hosted by the President of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, and the Estonian Minister of Defense, Margus Tsahkna, with participation of the Ministers of Defense of the United Kingdom and Denmark, as well as the French Ambassador to Estonia.
President Kaljulaid, in her welcome address to the troops, commented on the importance of a multinational military presence in her country, demonstrating that 'NATO stands strong and united to protect Allies'. The enhanced Forward Presence strengthens the Alliance's collective deterrence and defence posture, providing a balanced and proportionate response measure to NATO in times of crisis.
The UK-led battlegroup in Estonia is comprised of circa 1100 UK and French troops. It will train and operate together with the First Infantry Brigade of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF). Denmark will contribute to the battlegroup in 2018. NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroups are also deployed to Poland and Lithuania whilst another will soon be deployed to Latvia, as agreed during NATO's Warsaw Summit.
After the ceremony the Ministers of Defence of Estonia, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Ambassador of France signed a joint declaration on the establishment of an enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia.
Commander JFC Brunssum commented how the establishment of this battlegroup in Estonia, along with the ones in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland, clearly demonstrates NATO solidarity and the capability of the Alliance to adapt to the changed security environment. During his visit to Estonia General Farina met with the Chief of the EDF, General Riho Terras, and took the opportunity to visit the NATO Force Integration Unit and Allied Centre of Excellence for Cyber Defense, in Tallinn.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office