Estonia allots €40m to house allies

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Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said the government is allotting a total of €40m in 2015–2019 for the accommodation of allied troops. In this year alone, the state intends to invest €10.1m. 

For the amount, allied barracks will be built in the Tapa unit; training conditions will be enhanced at central polygon, and the NATO staff element building built in Tallinn. Of said projects, several are already underway. The new Tapa barracks, for instance, are intended to be opened for use this summer.

The USA has decided to quadruple its 2017 budget money for boosting military presence in Europe. The day before yesterday, defence secretary Ashton Carter said the United Stated would in 2017 spend $3.4bn dollars to repel Russian aggression and increase the US presence in Eastern Europe.

According to Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, President Barack Obama’s decision to support the US military presence in Europe is a clear confirmation of the continued presence of the USA and of allies in Estonia, and that our wellbeing is extremely important for the United States.  

«This has been confirmed by both President Obama, defence secretary Mr Carter and the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Dempsey in their visits to Estonia,» said Mr Rõivas.

According to Mr Rõivas, this is also confirmed by the eight rotating US infantry company present on Estonian soil.

The USA supported by $33m the buy of anti-tank system Javelin and have invested about $35m into developing the infrastructure in Ämari and Tapa. Since the summer of 2015, US pioneer companies have accomplished a lot of work in Estonia already – tank tracks have been built in the central polygon, as well as various support buildings and training facilities allowing explosives practice.

From the standpoint of the Estonian government, the allied and US presence send a vital message of deterrence. «This is important not only for Estonia, but for the security of the entire region. The Estonian government will do all in its power to be an excellent host to our most important strategic ally,» said Mr Rõivas.

The Estonian government is willing to cover the reception costs of even an increasing allied presence above and beyond the 2 percent out of GDP as prescribed for local defence costs. «The increased allied presence may not be hindered by our [lack of] readiness,» noted Mr Rõivas.