Estonian PM in Brussels: We must make joint effort to help Ukraine win

  • 2023-02-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Speaking at a meeting of EU heads of state and government in Brussels, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that military support for Ukraine must help Ukraine push Russian troops out of its territory.

"Russia is preparing for a new large-scale offensive in Ukraine and our assistance must be sufficient in order to confront it, because Russia's munition stocks are not yet about to be depleted," Kallas said according to spokespeople. 

"Moreover, our military support must help Ukraine to push Russian troops out of its territory. Our words must become deeds. All partners can and must do more to support Ukraine. We can also move swiftly to boost the production capacity of Europe's defense industry. We could organize joint procurements of ammunition, similar to COVID-19 vaccine procurements, financed by the member states, with the help of the European Commission, and ammunition could be delivered directly to Ukraine," she said.

The EU heads of state and government discussed how to move forward faster with the establishment of a special international court to investigate Russia's crime of aggression and with the use of frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

"All those behind the crime of aggression must be held accountable. Nobody should get away with impunity. That is why the creation of an international special court is so important," Kallas stressed. The premier added that the leading role of the European Union is essential here and for the deployment of frozen assets, and in order to find the best solution, member states must continue their joint efforts with the Commission.

According to the prime minister, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured the heads of state and government of the importance of united action by the European Union to stop and repel the Russian aggression.

"Our united action will help Ukraine win," Kallas said.

The heads of state and government also discussed increasing the competitiveness of the economy.

"The competitive internal market is a source of economic success and prosperity for the European Union. We discussed how to strengthen the internal market, because it is the basis of our economic growth and success, and therein lies the strength of the European economy. The basic principles of the single market and their protection must not be forgotten also when distributing subsidies in a crisis," the Estonian premier said.

In the long run, a competitive Europe is guaranteed by the free market, not subsidies and state aid. If we see a market failure, we will not be able to solve it with grants and loans, but it is our task to solve that very bottleneck. Market failures must be solved by addressing the root causes, she added.

In order to boost the competitiveness of European industry and to strengthen the industry, the heads of state and government decided to simplify the rules of the internal market and to amend the state aid rules. It was also decided to modify existing funding schemes to create green technologies and speed up production. The debate will continue at the next European Council in March.

The European Council discussed issues related to illegal migration and stepping up the protection of the European Union's external borders. According to the prime minister, the European Union must engage in the prevention of illegal migration more vigorously.

"The debate focused on what we can do to support refugees in countries of origin. We need to address the causes of irregular migration, not the consequences, including prevent the exploitation of migration for political purposes, as we saw with Belarus in 2021," Kallas said. "We agreed to strengthen cooperation with the countries of origin on readmission policy. We are also moving forward with strengthening the external borders of the European Union and supporting border countries like us in enhancing surveillance and defending the borders," she added.