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CE in Estonia for high level talks

EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý pursued his ‘tour des capitales’ today with a visit to Estonia where he met with Defence Minister Kalle Laanet, Defence Ministry Permanent Secretary Kusti Salm, the Deputy Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Major General Veiko-Vello Palm, National Armaments Director Magnus-Valdemar Saar, Deputy Head of Capability Planning Department Kalle Teras as well as with the Head of the Ministry’s Innovation Department, Miiko Peris. Mr Šedivý also had talks with representatives of the Estonian Defence Industry Association (EDIA).

The exchange of views with Minister Laanet was mainly focused on Estonia’s involvement in EDA’s current and future activities, the war in Ukraine and its potential impact on EU defence cooperation and spending, future defence investment programmes and cooperation opportunities, EDA’s role in the implementation of the EU defence initiatives (especially the ongoing work on the second Coordinated Annual Review on Defence, CARD), the implementation of the recently adopted Strategic Compass, the upcoming revision of the EU Capability Development Priorities, the implementation of the EU’s Strategic Compass as well as the launch of the initial phase of the new Hub for European Defence Innovation (HEDI) with in EDA, as agreed by the Agency’s Steering Board in May.

To date, Estonia participates in 6 EDA projects: five collaborative capability development projects (Multinational Anti-Tank Training, Governmental Satellite Communication Demonstration Phase, EU Satellite Communication Market, Cooperation on Cyber Ranges in the European Union, Common acquisition of Carl Gustaf 84 mm ammunition) and one joint defence research project (Combat Unmanned Ground System). The total value of EDA programmes and projects in which Estonia participates and where a project arrangement has been agreed currently stands at roughly €54 million. Estonia also participates in 7 PESCO projects, three of which are even led by it: Cyber Ranges Federation, Integrated Unmanned Ground System, Medium size Semi-Autonomous Surface Vehicle.

“I am delighted to have had the opportunity to personally discuss EDA’s work with Minister Laanet and senior decision-makers in the Estonian Ministry of Defence. This visit also allowed me to thank Estonia for its support to the Agency and the EU defence initiatives, including CARD and PESCO, which are crucial for bringing defence cooperation forward. I believe that with the massive security and defence challenges Europe is facing, especially now with the war in Ukraine, cooperation remains the best and most effective way of addressing them. Today, Estonia participates in 6 EDA projects, but there is much more potential to exploit. I therefore encourage Estonia to further benefit from collaborative opportunities in defence, and to use the Agency to its full potential”, Mr Šedivý commented.

Estonian Defence Minister Kalle Laanet stated: “The EU has a very important role in today’s security environment – incentivising investments in Member States’ defence capabilities. EDA has identified the areas that need most attention, and now we need to focus on immediate action. This cooperation will also allow us to be better equipped to support Ukraine through this war, and it was good to have a chance to discuss it in person today with EDA Chief Executive Jiří Šedivý. What’s more, EDA is an important platform for taking innovation and defence industry development forward in Europe. We have already seen great results from PESCO and CARD initiatives, which hold a lot of potential for the future. Estonia welcomes the EU and EDA innovation initiatives, such as the recently established EDA Defence Innovation Hub (HEDI), which will link well with our future NATO DIANA footprint. HEDI and DIANA represent a great opportunity in developing NATO-EU cooperation”.

Industry & cyber defence

Mr Šedivý also visited Milrem Robotics where he was presented the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (IMUGS) project which is co-funded under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and run by a consortium led by Milrem Robotics. He also visited the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) where he was received by Chief of Staff LtCol Bernard Hoffmann.