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TALLINN - Estonia's Minister of Defense Juri Luik and members of the European Parliament's subcommittee on security and defense (SEDE) during a meeting on Monday discussed forthcoming important steps in the defense policy of Europe.
Luik said that during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU ambitious goals were achieved, such as the launch of permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) in defense and the creation of the defense industry program of the European Defense Fund, and now the operational programs of both initiatives have to be endorsed, spokespeople for the Estonian Defense Ministry said.
"Where 2017 was a year of making decisions in the defense field of the EU, 2018 is a year of implementing these decisions," Luik said. He also said that Estonia will continue to make an active contribution to developing Europe's defense policy.
"We must make use of the full potential of the European Defense Fund and continue developing it to obtain funding for it also for the upcoming EU financing period in 2020–2027," Luik said.
Negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Council on an agreement concerning the defense industrial development program of the European Defense Fund will start in March. The wish is to endorse the operational program by the beginning of summer.
The aim of the European defense industrial development program is to support the competitiveness and innovation of defense industry companies in the EU member states, including small and medium sized companies, across the borders.
The aim of PESCO is to intensify cooperation among the EU member states and facilitate the availability of military capabilities for operations of the EU. Among other things, the countries taking part in the cooperation commit to facilitate the movement of military equipment and units across national borders. The Defense Ministry pointed out that the latter is one of the important aims of PESCO for Estonia.