National Defence Committee members meet French counterparts
TheRiigikogu's National Defence Committee met a delegation of the National Defence and Armed Forces Committee of the French National Assembly in Tallinn on Tuesday. They discussed various defense policy issues as well the European Union’s willingness to defend its borders.
“In the turbulence that has engulfed the EU after the British decision to leave, our first task is to do all we can to strengthen European solidarity,” chairman of the Riigikogu’s National Defence Committee, Marko Mihkelson (IRL), said according to a Tuesday evening press release by the Riigikogu.
Mihkelson added that all the possible steps needed to be taken to strengthen trust in the EU’s ability and willingness to defend itself in the face of eroding stability in Europe. “We tend to forget that without investments into defense, it is impossible to ensure internal security and economic development,” Mihkelson said.
Estonia is one of the NATO members that invests 2% of its GDP in defense, and is also willing to increase this amount. In Mihkelson’s opinion, a first step towards a stronger EU would be an agreement that member states increase their defense spending to the same 2%.
“We could do a lot even in the framework that we have already agreed on. The investments should not duplicate existing and functioning structures. At the European level, we must coordinate our missions better. When strengthening the European defence identity, we should be careful not to split Europe, or not to duplicate the activities of NATO,” Mihkelson said.
President of the French National Assembly’s defense committee, Patricia Adam, said that the EU should pull itself together to ensure security. In her opinion, citizens are clamouring for the EU to ensure their security. In order to better organize this, Adam proposed the formation of a headquarters for European forces, which would coordinate intelligence, cyber defense, and border security.