President of Finland Sauli Niinisto will visit the President of Estonia Alar Karis today. Discussions are likely to be held
President of Finland Sauli Niinisto will visit the President of Estonia Alar Karis today.
Discussions are likely to be held on the topic of Finland’s pending accession to NATO, which will deepen existing Finnish-Estonian bilateral ties. The Estonian side will likely push for
further defense cooperation. Previously, this cooperation was limited to the training of Estonian soldiers by Finland and the provision of military equipment, but recently both countries began cooperation on a joint coastal defense system. Further cooperation might include the presence of Finnish soldiers in Estonia as part of existing NATO battle groups in the region.
Currently Estonia—along with Latvia and Lithuania—are only lightly defended in comparison to potential Russian invasion forces and face a geographical disadvantage through the Suwalki gap. Plans to effectively protect the region include a plan announced in June by NATO Secretary General Jens Stolenberg to increase the number of NATO troops available on short notice from 40,000 to 300,000 and to increase troop numbers in the Baltic region substantially. While the realisation of such plans will only be possible in the long-term and through cooperation with many NATO states, the balance of power in the region could shift significantly in NATO’s favor.