The European Union's (EU) response to hybrid threats needs to "systematic, strong, and well-funded", Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Helsinki on Thursday.
Reinsalu said EU member states are increasingly more aware of the need to deal with hybrid threats jointly but must make a much greater effort to reduce the vulnerability of the member states and institutions.
"We cannot continue as only firefighters and deal with threats when they arise, but instead we need a systematic, strong, and well-funded approach," he said, at the meeting known as a Gymnich.
Reinsalu praised Finland for raising the issue of hybrid threats during its presidency of the Council of the European Union and said there is room for development.
"The Cyber Diplomacy Toolbox was approved at the European Union level in May, which can be used to set travel restrictions on the organisers of cyber attacks and freeze their assets," he said.
"It's important to start implementing sanctions in response to malicious cyber activities. We must be ready to respond quickly and decisively in order to send a strong signal to the attackers."
Reinsalu will also attend a Gymnich on Friday. Topics under discussion include the Middle East, Western Balkans, and the Arctic policy of the European Union.
Editor: Helen Wright