Estonian PM: The UK will remain a close partner and friend after Brexit

The Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas, met with his British counterpart in London on 6 August and confirmed that the United Kingdom will remain a close partner and friend to Estonia even after the UK leaves the European Union.

Ratas said that it was important to the European Union that the UK leave the EU in accordance with a contract that is commonly agreed upon. He also stressed the importance of continuing tight and close relations even after the UK exiting the European Union.

“The United Kingdom is and will remain our close partner and friend in Europe as well as an important ally in NATO. We are united by common interests and cooperation in several fields, from security to economy,” he said, according to a statement by the Estonian government.

“We received an important reassurance that the UK leaving the European Union does not mean they are leaving Europe, and our mutual defence cooperation will continue,” Ratas noted.

Close cooperation in many organisations

The new British prime minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed that the rights of Estonian citizens residing in the UK will be protected even after the UK leaves the European Union, the Estonian government added.

Boris Johnson. Image courtesy of UK government.

Johnson and Ratas also discussed the cooperation between the two countries.

“We are united by active cooperation in the fields of security as well as cyber and digital affairs, but also by a close cooperation in different international organisations, especially NATO,” Ratas asserted, according to the statement. “We are hoping to continue our close and open cooperation with the new government of the United Kingdom.”

The UK is interested in digital health care

On the topic of defence cooperation, the Estonian prime minister reiterated that Estonia highly appreciated the British contribution in the Baltic Sea region in assuring the security of NATO as a whole.

A Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon fighter jet operating from Ämari Air Base in Estonia launched on 28 June to intercept a Russian IL-76 military transport aircraft that was flying close to Estonian airspace.

The prime ministers also discussed the cooperation in digital and cyber security and expressed their satisfaction over its continuous intensifying. According to the statement, Johnson expressed a great interest in the potential for cooperation in the field of digital health care.

Ratas also invited Johnson to participate in the Tallinn Digital Summit in September.

The UK is present with over 1,000 members of its military in the NATO battlegroup in Tapa. Currently, the UK destroyers are at the Air Policing Mission at Ämari. British representatives are also participating in the NATO Force Integration Unit NFIU and the NATO Cyber Defence Centre operations.