The Estonian Minister of Defense, Jüri Luik (Isamaa) and the Dutch Minister of Defense, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (Christian Democratic Appeal) discussed the financing of the European Defense Fund and military mobility in the European Union's budget. The Estonian and Dutch defense ministers agreed that military mobility must be increased in the new financial framework and promised to work together to reach that goal.
Luik said at the meeting that The European Union has the ability to play a significant role in improving Europe's defensive capabilities through the financing of the European Defense Fund and the military mobility. He added: "Strong political and financial support from the EU budget must be ensured for these flagship projects."
During the Estonian Presidency, EU Member States took the decision to strengthen defense cooperation. Within that framework, the two main initiatives set up were the European Defense Fund and investment into dual-use infrastructure that would support military mobility in Europe. The aim of the Defense Fund is to support the EU's defense industry and deepen cooperation between the Member States, in order to develop new and innovative capabilities. Within the framework of military mobility, it is planned to invest in the development of dual-use infrastructure within the Member States so that, if necessary, rapid deployment of forces within Europe could take place.
Within the framework of current proposals, the plan is to invest €8 billion in the European Defense Fund over a period of 7 years, and €1.5 billion in the military mobility. Regarding the latter, the amount being invested is nearly four times smaller than the amount found in the initial budget proposals.
In addition, both ministers praised the positive cooperation, both bilaterally and in several different forms of cooperation. After the meeting, Minister of Defense Luik commented that in terms of defense-related cooperation The Netherlands leaves the impression that they are a close neighbor to us, as we share many common positions and interests.
One area in which both countries share a mutual interest to further develop defense cooperation is in the development of cyber capabilities. Estonia and Holland are both well-established countries in terms of their cyber capabilities and have made their offensive cyber capabilities available to NATO.
Editor: Katriin Eikin Sein