On 11 October, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets, Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabrielius Landsbergis, and United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss met to discuss topical foreign and security policy issues, as well as closer security and economic cooperation.
At the meeting in Chevening, UK, the ministers discussed regional and international security issues, including relations with Russia and China. ‘Our assessment of European security and the challenges it faces is very similar to that of the British. The cornerstone of European security is a developing, strong, and up-to-date NATO that can withstand current and future threats,’ explained Minister of Foreign Affairs Liimets. ‘We must focus on our collective resilience to protect the security interests of all allies and the stability of our region.’
Foreign Secretary Truss expressed the solidarity of the United Kingdom with Lithuania and Latvia in connection with the Belarusian hybrid operation at the external border of the European Union. ‘The modern security environment is unpredictable, and therefore, in defending our value space, we must think together about how to resist various hybrid attacks, whether they are physical in nature, take place in cyberspace, or involve the dissemination of false information,’ said Minister Liimets.
The ministers also discussed closer cooperation in the field of cyber security, freedom of the media and the fight against disinformation, and, more broadly, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the world. Estonia plans to organise a conference on media freedom together with the United Kingdom next year. The ministers also discussed climate goals ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.
The ministers of Estonia and the United Kingdom also held a bilateral meeting. ‘Naturally, defence cooperation is important for our countries, and Estonia highly appreciates the contribution of the United Kingdom as a framework country for the strengthened presence of NATO allies in Tapa. As other important topics, we talked about, for example, the possibilities for intensifying economic interaction. I was also pleased to see the great interest of the United Kingdom in the experience of Estonia in developing cross-border data exchange and digital cooperation with our neighbouring countries.’ The ministers also discussed ways to deepen bilateral co-operation on digital and cyber issues, development cooperation, and raising the level of bilateral trade and investment.
The ministers of the four countries issued a joint statement reaffirming their interest in continuing to meet in the same format to discuss common foreign and security policy priorities and to explore opportunities for developing economic cooperation.