Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (IRL) on Monday met with members of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Defence
Ambitious goals were achieved during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of last year, such as the launch of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defense and the establishment of the European Defence Fund's European Defence Industrial Development Programme and now the operational programs of both initiatives must be endorsed, Luik said according to Ministry of Defence spokespeople.
"Where 2017 was a year of making decisions in the EU's defense field, 2018 will be the year of implementing these decisions," said the Estonian minister, adding that Estonia will continue to contribute actively to the development of Europe's defense policy.
"We must make use of the full potential of the European Defence Fund and continue developing it to obtain funding for it in the upcoming 2020-2027 EU financing period as well," Luik said.
Negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council on an agreement concerning the European Defence Fund's EDIDP will begin in March. The goal is to endorse the operational program by the beginning of this summer.
The aim of EDIDP is to support the competitiveness and innovation of defense industry companies in EU member states, include small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), across borders.
The goal of PESCO is to intensify cooperation between EU member states and facilitate the availability of military capabilities for EU operations. Among other things, participating countries commit to facilitate the movement of military equipment and units across national borders.
The Ministry of Defence has noted that the latter is one of the important goals of PESCO for Estonia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla