Estonian defmin: EU must be ready to support member states against hybrid attacks

  • 2021-09-03
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - According to Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet, the European Union must be ready to support its member states if they are subjected to a hybrid attack.

Laanet took part in an informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Sept. 1-2 to discuss the European Union's strategic compass, military missions in Mali and Mozambique, and the security situation in the European Union, its immediate neighborhood and the world, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense said.

"The hybrid attack by Belarus, where one's neighbors are being pressured with illegal migration, is an attack on the whole of the European Union. The fight against the attack requires the united support of the European Union and the spread of the regional security crisis must be prevented," Laanet said at the meeting.

"The European Union therefore also needs to improve its speed of response and reach decisions with which to help its member states," the minister said. "The current crisis has clearly shown what we expect from the European Union. This is includes coherent, rapid and clearly targeted public messages; diplomatic, financial or technical support; well-targeted retaliation in the form of sanctions that make the opponent realize that their wrongdoing has consequences," Laanet added.

The minister also discussed the hybrid attack by Belarus with his Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish counterparts.

According to Laanet, the value of the European Union lies primarily in its large toolbox, while NATO bears the military collective defense of its allies. However, the European Union can also contribute to building the resilience of member states through its defense initiatives, for example by supporting research and development in the field of defense or military mobility.

Regarding foreign military missions, Laanet confirmed that Estonia will continue to contribute in Mali despite the complicated political developments there and that Estonia is ready to join the European Union military training mission in Mozambique.

In the near future, the minister will make a proposal to the government within the framework of Estonia's foreign mission mandates for 2022 to contribute to a training mission in Mozambique, the aim of which is to support the training of Mozambican security forces. The Riigikogu issues mandates for the participation of members of the defense forces in foreign missions.