A just lasting peace in Europe can only be achieved by removing all of the gray zones in the continent's security architecture, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says. Achieving this would include the European Union enlargement which Estonia first benefited from nearly 20 years ago, she added.
The prime minister made her remarks at a conference Wednesday dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the weekly, center-right French news magazine L'Express, while the head of government was on an official visit to France.
Also in attendance was Laurence Boone, Secretary of State for European affairs in the government of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, presented Kallas, who gave the conference close-out speech, with the L'Express Europe prize.
"The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself," Kallas said in her presentation.
She also focused on the future of Europe, taking the line that the continent is in a continual state of flux.
"Our Europe is one that will never be 'ready'," the prime minister went on.
"After each crisis, after each enlargement, after the formative experiences of each new generation, Europe has to reinvent itself over and over again. This is necessary if the EU is to remain meaningful and relevant to its people. This is necessary to deliver not only hope in a better future, but also tangible benefits to our people."
Kallas also said that lasting peace can only be achieved by removing all of the gray zones in Europe's security architecture.
"Such gray zones fuel conflicts and invite dictators to invade," she said. "We need Russia to lose its final colonial war. Ukraine's place is in the EU and, once the war is over, also in NATO."
Estonia has always championed EU enlargement, which will lead to the propagation of democratic values and freedom, "which is to say an increase in well-being for us all," the prime minister added.
Kallas also cautioned against lost in what she described as Brussels' favourite pastime, namely debates on the need for institutional reforms within the EU.
"Next year will mark two decades since Estonia's accession to the EU," Kallas, a former MEP, added.
"The EU Treaties have been made enlargement-ready since then. There is no need for us to review them again. I have no doubt that as a union we will cope admirably with any further enlargement. Past experience has shown that joining the EU has bolstered the economies of the new Member States, significantly increasing their levels of prosperity, and that has brought gains to the union as a whole."
The L'Express conference, entitled "C'était bien avant, ça sera mieux demain" ("It was good before, it will be better tomorrow"), brought together high-profile figures from the worlds of politics, culture, business and science.
Kallas was awarded the L'Express Europe award (Prix de L'Europe) as recognition of her championing of democracy and freedoms, her consisten support for Ukraine and her role as an outspoken woman in the world of politics.
Video of both Kallas' and Boone's addresses can be seen here (starting from the 3:23:00-mark).
Editor: Andrew Whyte