At its latest sitting, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu heard the European Commission's work program through spring, and while it supported the reduction of bureaucracy by a quarter and the postponement of the adoption of sustainability reporting standards, the committee expressed concern that no agreement had been reached on defense industry strategy.
European Union Affairs Committee chair MP Liisa Pakosta (Eesti 200) emphasized that in the new security situation, the EU must relieve the defense industry of unreasonable bureaucratic restrictions as well as considerably increase real defense capability, according to a press release.
"In my speech in Brussels at the discussion of security in Europe in the 21st century, I also pointed out that the EU should not regard the defense industry as something bad – almost like the porn industry," Pakosta said.
"Besides that, it's crucial when regulating artificial intelligence (AI) that AI for defense purposes is not regulated," she continued. "Otherwise we will end up in a situation where our sons and daughters may be killed on the battlefield because we regulated AI and our adversary did not."
Committee deputy chair MP Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski (Center) noted that the deadline for approving the EU budget for 2024 is approaching.
"It's important for Estonia that funds from the budget are allocated to provide comprehensive assistance to Ukraine and to deal with the consequences of the war of aggression against Ukraine involving the economic, social and humanitarian impacts," Jufereva-Skuratovski said.
The deputy chair also emphasized the need to increase Europe's strategic autonomy, and noted that reserve capacities are needed to ensure energy security, and therefore Estonia, for example, must retain the possibility of utilizing oil shale.
Vivian Loonela, head of the European Commission Representation in Estonia, also provided the Riigikogu committee with an overview of the Commission's 2024 work program, which was likewise addressed when discussing Estonia's positions at the EU's General Affairs Council (GAC).
Highlighted in connection with both was the fact that Estonia considers both continued comprehensive support of Ukraine as well as holding Russia accountable important.
Also discussed was the EU budget, in connection with the adoption of Estonia's positions ahead of the EU's Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN).
Editor: Aili Vahtla