Estonian president visits the Netherlands, calls for support to Ukraine's EU aspirations

  • 2023-04-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - At a meeting on Thursday, Estonian President Alar Karis and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte discussed supporting Ukraine on its path to the European Union and the objectives of the upcoming Vilnius summit.

"Ukraine belongs in the European Union and, after the end of the war, also in NATO. Therefore, it needs a clear yet realistic roadmap for joining NATO," the Estonian head of state said.

Karis applauded good relations between Estonia and the Netherlands as a pair of states with shared values and close cooperation in the EU, NATO and international organizations, including the International Criminal Court. At a meeting with President of the Senate Jan Anthonie Bruijn and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Roelien Kamminga on Thursday, the topics discussed included a continuous need to support Ukraine.

With regard to Ukraine's EU aspirations, Karis said that while the country is engaged in a brutal war for its freedom and survival, the necessary reforms are being carried out for the state to become a full member of the EU one day.

"The Ukrainians have done a remarkable job in their fight against corruption and their pursuit of strengthening the rule of law. They have a strong wish to remain on the path to the EU with their reforms. Meanwhile, it is also important that Ukraine should have the EU's support in its preparations for accession," the president said.

Topics discussed at the meetings also included preparations for the NATO summit in Vilnius in July and the defense investments needed for strengthening the alliance's defense and deterrence posture.

Attention was also paid in the discussions to the NATO enlargement perspective.

"Our wish is to expand the area where it is possible to live in peace. And to reduce the gray zone causing a vague security area in Europe, where freedom is vulnerable due to someone's imperialistic ambitions," the Estonian head of state said.

Therefore, a firm and unequivocal plan of action for joining NATO needs to be given to Ukraine at the alliance's summit in Vilnius, Karis said. He also deemed it necessary that Sweden should become a NATO member as soon as possible.

Also discussed at the meeting were the importance of holding Russia legally accountable for all the crimes committed in Ukraine, and the creation of a special tribunal for investigating Putin's crime of aggression. Solutions for using frozen Russian assets for rebuilding Ukraine were likewise discussed.

At a meeting at the Dutch parliament, Karis lauded the successful cooperation that led to Estonia, the Netherlands and Norway recently donating a field hospital to Ukraine.

"We're also open to similar projects in the future," he added. Estonia and the Netherlands are supporting Ukraine comprehensively with political, military and humanitarian aid and continue the provision of support.

Opportunities for strengthening cooperation in trade, renewable energy, cyber security and digitalization, where Estonia serves as an example for the Netherlands, were also discussed.