TALLINN - Estonian President at a meeting with Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Commission and chief official of the EU responsible for the green transition, said that Ukraine needs reassurance from Europe that sanctions against Russia will be made even stricter and that Ukraine is welcome to join the European Union.
"This horrifying aggression against Ukraine has forced European states to take action in our shared interest; help has been provided to Ukraine together on all possible levels and at the same time, much has been done to strengthen our own defense. Estonia has just passed a supplementary budget, which helps rapidly strengthen our military defense, internal security as well as energy security," the head of state said.
Topics discussed at the meeting also included the energy economy and environmental protection. Karis said that the energy crisis needs to be approached broadly in Estonia with the development of offshore wind farms and solar power stations. The country also needs to consider how to use its oil shale in the most environmentally friendly way as it is inevitably an element in ensuring energy security.
"Ukraine, too, can be helped with the modernization of the energy economy and agriculture, already before it joins the European Union. It would give a strong impetus to Ukraine's accession ambitions, even though the accession cannot take place immediately -- it is a long process with no fast track," the president said.
Karis and Timmermans acknowledged at the meeting that both in Estonia as well as elsewhere in Europe, a significant share of Ukrainian refugees are already well-adjusted.
"Ukrainians are hard-working and Ukrainian students are diligently learning the Estonian language. Europeans' open hearts and minds have contributed to it," the Estonian president added.
The head of state noted that the war in Ukraine has shifted the European Union's center of gravity towards the East.
"Eastern Europe is a politically loaded term, and we need to arrive at no longer distinguishing the West and the East, but at the same time, our positions need to be clarified to western member states with regard to a number of issues because it is important to ensure Europe's unity," the president said.