MPs Kaljulaid, Mihkelson talk Ukraine support at EU conference in Prague

Riigikogu committee chairs and MPs Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE) and Marko Mihkelson (Reform) in Prague on Monday. September 5, 2022.
Riigikogu committee chairs and MPs Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE) and Marko Mihkelson (Reform) in Prague on Monday. September 5, 2022. Source: Chancellery of the Riigikogu

MP Raimond Kaljulaid (SDE), chair of the National Defense Committee and MP Marko Mihkelson (Reform), chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu attended an interparliamentary EU conference in Prague on Sunday and Monday, where key issues included supporting and rebuilding Ukraine and enhancing European security.

Kaljulaid, the head of the Estonian delegation, noted a strong sense of unity in supporting Ukraine, but regretted a frequent lack of decisiveness and clarity of message during the two-day conference, according to a press release.

"The Ukrainians are fighting not only for themselves, but also for the freedom and peace of all of Europe, where they see their future," he stressed. "Europe will be instrumental in supporting Ukraine after the war. But all of this leans on the presumption that Ukraine will win this war."

For this to happen, the EU has to provide Ukraine with urgent aid in the form of weapons and exercises, as well as take much stronger steps in exerting pressure on Russia, "which goes without saying," Kaljulaid said. "One of the first steps should be visa sanctions against citizens of the Russian Federation. We would like to see more decisiveness and clearer messages."

In his speech at the conference, Mihkelson described EU's Russia policy thus far as too responsive and adapting.

"Today, Europe is facing an existential threat caused by the terrorist and fascist regime in Russia," he said. "To deflect this and secure a strategic victory over the fascist Russia, it's important that EU member states act more proactively and with a clearer strategic goal in sight. Stopping the granting of tourist visas to Russian citizens and closing our borders to recreational travel by citizens of the aggressor state is a step that the EU should approve at the earliest opportunity. However, this is only one step toward a strategic goal — Ukraine's victory and Russia's defeat in the war they themselves started."

Conference participants also discussed ways to improve democratic countries' cyberdefense and their ability to fight against disinformation and hybrid threats, as well as explored the best ways for EU member states' national parliaments to contribute toward fending off hybrid threats.

Organized by the Parliamentary Dimension of the Czech Presidency, the 21st session of the EU Inter-Parliamentary Conference on the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defense Policy (CFSP-CSDP), held September 4-5, brought together MPs from national parliaments, the European Parliament, observer and candidate countries, as well as other officials, according to the European Parliament.

This marked the second physical IPC held after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, following the 20th session, which was held in Paris under the French presidency of the Council on February 24-25.

The Czech Presidency of the European Union began on July 1 and runs through the end of the year.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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