Estonia’s ambassador to Poland, Harri Tiido, said in an interview with Euractiv.pl on Thursday that he agreed with U.S. president Donald Trump—Europe indeed needed to spend more on its defense.
In the interview Tiido talked about the priorities of Estonia’s EU council presidency as well as challenges currently facing Europe.
Asked about Estonia’s position in matters of European security, Tiido said that the issue would become clearer after the German elections in September. “They have great influence on the rest of the continent. Like it or not, Germany has great influence in Europe,” Tiido commented.
He also pointed out that a common defense fund would be a good idea-if it were open to all of the union’s member states, and not only set up in the interest of the largest EU countries as well as certain businesses.
As he sees it, there could also be structural defense cooperation based on local conditions. “This kind of cooperation scheme already exists in Scandinavia, among the Benelux countries, and between Germany and France,” he added.
These issues needed to be raised at the European Union level and in the context of close cooperation with NATO as well.
“The member states would need to be part of a common army, which would then be used for state, EU, NATO, and international peacekeeping needs. We can’t separate the defense of the European Union and its security policy from NATO, but we could build up a European pillar within NATO,” Tiido said.
As far as military issues were concerned, Estonia as well as Poland already met the goal of 2 percent GDP spent on national defense. “U.S. president Donald Trump, his use of language notwithstanding, is right calling on Europe to pay for its own defense,” Tiido added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn