London – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the United Kingdom in London today. Discussions ranged from defence cooperation and the NATO mission in Afghanistan to issues related to the European Union. Prime Minister Cameron also mentioned that the United Kingdom would be joining NATO’s cyber defence centre of excellence, which is based in Tallinn.
“Relations between Estonia and the United Kingdom are very good,” Ansip said. “There are many reasons for that, but one is without doubt our excellent cooperation in the field of defence. We’re glad to hear that the United Kingdom has decided to join the cyber defence centre of excellence and appoint its own expert to the centre.”
Prime Minister Ansip also thanked the United Kingdom for its contribution to Baltic air security.
Speaking of defence, the heads of government agreed that the NATO allies had achieved an outstanding level of cooperation as part of the Afghanistan mission and that their joint defensive work should continue in future. Prime Minister Ansip confirmed that Estonia would contribute further to efforts in Afghanistan this year, again with a full deployment of 170 defence forces personnel, and that the country would fulfil its duties as an ally for as long as its support is needed.
Prime Minister Ansip also spoke to Prime Minister Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Clegg about EU-related issues, primarily developments within the internal market.
“Estonia feels that bolstering the eurozone will foster development in the single market,” Ansip explained. He also outlined Estonia’s position in terms of the new EU budget, underscoring the importance of financing infrastructure to connect the continent. He also referred to the joint wish of the three Baltic States for Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian farmers to receive direct support from the new budget which is fairer and closer to the European average.
Discussions between Prime Minister Ansip and Deputy Prime Minister Clegg focussed on the successful launch of e-state cooperation between Estonia and the United Kingdom. Since the visit last May of British cabinet minister Francis Maude, who is responsible for the country’s civil administration, an Estonian expert has been advising the United Kingdom on the digitalisation of its national administration and on innovations in the IT management of its national institutions.
Prime Minister Ansip said that there are many similarities in the approach that Estonia and the United Kingdom take to developments in the information society and potential for the two countries to work together even more closely therein at the EU level, for example in advancing the single digital market.
Prime Minister Cameron will be attending the meeting of the heads of government of the Nordic countries and Baltic States to be held in Riga in February. Prime Minister Ansip also expressed his condolences to Prime Minister Cameron at the meeting in regard to the deaths of the British citizens taken hostage in Algeria.