Estonian PM: Europe's strength is based on shared values

  • 2022-02-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas took part in a panel discussion on the unity and future of the European Union on the main stage of the Munich Security Conference on Sunday, underlining that the European Union's strength is based on shared views and values.

Citing Estonia's former president Lennart Meri, Kallas said: "Europe is not about geography. Europe is about the unity of principles and adherence to principles. It's principles that mould geography, it's not geography that moulds principles."

The prime minister pointed out the impact of crises on EU unity.

"Crises bind us together more closely and we have learned the lessons we need from previous crises," she said. "For example, we were able to very quickly adopt a common COVID-19 certificate. This shows that we can operate very efficiently and with great determination, if necessary," she said.

Kallas said that the European Union is more united than ever but work is needed for this unity.

"The EU's position in its response to the Russian aggression has been united and strong, however, to achieve that, we've been speaking to one another very closely and actively," she said. "Unity is undermined by indecisiveness, thus, maintaining a common stance will be of key importance if the crisis should last for a long time."

The Estonian prime minister underscored that Estonia has always been a strong proponent of EU enlargement.

"A few days ago, I had an excellent meeting with Bulgaria's new prime minister, Kiril Petkov, and I hope that North Macedonia's accession talks can soon move forward," she said.

The opening speech at the discussion on Sunday was given by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and participants in the subsequent panel discussion included, in addition to the Estonian prime minister, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Manuel Albares and leader of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Friedrich Merz. The discussion was moderated by Jana Puglierin, head of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations.