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Kallas in Paris: We need to increase EU defense readiness and competitiveness

Kaja Kallas.
Kaja Kallas. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

On Tuesday evening, at a dinner of heads of state and government hosted by President of the European Council Charles Michel in Paris, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said that Estonia strongly supports the enlargement of the European Union. Kallas added that it must go hand in hand with the necessary reforms and the strengthening of the EU's defense readiness and competitiveness.

The debate on the future and enlargement of the European Union, which also included French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Luxembourg Prime Minister Luc Frieden and Portuguese Prime Minister António da Costa, was part of a wider political debate on how to ensure the EU's capacity to accept new members and establish the union's strategic objectives for the next five years. The approval of the new EU Strategic Agenda is scheduled for June 2024.

According to Kaja Kallas, the focus must be on how to increase the capacity of the European Union in order to adapt to new challenges in the fields of security and economy.

"The defense readiness of the European Union, its ability to cope with crises, to make the necessary changes, be it the green transition or the digital transition, and the development of the single market must ensure that the EU continues to meet the expectations of its citizens," Kallas said.

 "We need an action plan on how to increase defense investments and develop the defense industry, as well as to ensure that Ukraine has our sufficient support to win the war," she added.

Kallas expressed her conviction that the enlargement of the European Union is good for its competitiveness.

"With the new members, the population of the European Union would increase by 14 percent, and the single market would expand significantly. But to really unlock this potential, we need to ensure fair competition and develop secure connections so that all businesses, regardless of where they come from, can grow equally," Kallas said.

The Estonian PM also stressed that the enlargement of the EU and the necessary reforms ought to go hand in hand.

The decision on whether to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, on the recommendation of the European Commission, is due to be taken by EU leaders at the European Council in mid-December.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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