The nationalist caucus of the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) in Estonia believes that in order to ensure its own security, the EU must reviw the underlying principles of its security policy and enter into a partnership with NATO.
In a statement adopted at a meeting on Saturday, IRL's national caucus said that developing an independent defense capability parallel to that of NATO is not an economically sustainable solution for the EU, as it would split member states' military and economic resources.
A partnership accord with the alliance, however, should contain an agreement on three things: first, the EU will direct five percent of its budget into the NATO budget for defense expenditures; second, NATO will guarantee the security of EU member states; and third, upon agreement with NATO, it will be possible for the EU to utilize the alliance's resources, including both manpower and combat equipment, for the conducting of its own missions.
The EU's budget for this year is €160.1 billion, five percent of which equals nearly €8 billion, which would constitute a significant contribution to NATO's defense capability, the statement said.
"We must not forget that Russia has been robustly increasing its defense spending in recent years," it stands in the statement. "In 2016, Moscow spent at least $5.4 billion on arms, which accounted for approximately seven percent of the Russian GDP. Therefore, a partnership agreement between the EU and NATO would have a balancing effect."
Caucus chair: Estonia should leave Ottawa Treaty
MP Tarmo Kruusimäe, who was on Saturday reelected chairman of IRL's nationalist caucus, said in his speech that Estonia must reauthorize the use of land mines on its territory by leaving the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, otherwise known as Ottawa Treaty. He described Estonia's accesion to the convention in 2004 as absolutely unjustified.
According to Kruusimäe, the use of anti-personnel mines prevents the rapid advance of infantry and motorized combat units, and in this, Estonia should follow Finland's example, in which the latter has adopted the use of land mines as a mainstay of its national defense. The MP also pointed out that neither the U.S. nor Russia has joined the Ottawa Treaty.
Kruusimäe also called for increasing allied presence in Estonia.
"In order to enhance the defense capability of Estonia and NATO's northern flank, a request must be made for NATO to deploy at least one brigade in Estonia," he said. "It would make sense to deploy at least one brigade in each of the Baltic countries."
With 12 seats in the 101-seat Riigikogu, IRL is the smallest of the three parties making up Estonia's ruling government coalition.
Editor: Aili Vahtla