A French army contingent is due to arrive in Estonia later this month, on a twelve-month rotation based at Tapa. The deployment both gives an opportunity for greater cooperation between the French and Estonian militaries – which already serve together in the West African country of Mali – and also sees several Leclerc Main Battle Tanks (MBT) coming to Tapa.
M. Eric Lamouroux, ambassador of France to Estonia, said: “The extension of the deployment time and the doubling of tanks demonstrates France’s willingness to get involved in the protection of its close allies.”
“The presence of the French military in Estonia is all the more significant as we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries,” he added.
Defense minister Kalle Laanet (Reform) said as one of Estonia’s key allies, the move was welcome.
Laanet said: “France is also a nuclear state, whose presence in the Baltic Sea region undoubtedly acts as a significant deterrent.”
Serving alongside each other in Estonia as well as Mali gives greater opportunities to learn tactical skills and cameraderie, he added.
This will be the third time French contingents have served in Estonia since the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, based at Tapa, became a reality in early 2017, with the rotation period this time extended to 12 months from the earlier eight.