TALLINN – Estonian Minister of Defense Kalle Laanet discussed the security situation in the regions affecting Europe at a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Brussels on Thursday and the ministers also touched upon the EU's long-term security and defense policy plans.
The meeting began with topical issues of the security situation and Russia's aggressive actions towards Ukraine were discussed, spokespeople for the Ministry of Defense said. The defense ministers and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell jointly emphasized solidarity with Ukraine and emphasized that such pressure from the Russian Federation should be clearly and unequivocally condemned. Russia's actions in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria were also condemned.
Laanet said that Estonia will continue to monitor Russia's military activities very closely. "We must bear in mind that the Russian armed forces as a whole have not left the vicinity of the borders of Ukraine and military and political pressure continues to be exerted on Ukraine," the minister said.
The ministers also spoke about the situation in the Sahel region and Mozambique.
Another topic the ministers discussed was the long-term plan for the EU's security and defense policy, that is the Strategic Compass. At this meeting, the ministers discussed in more detail the issues of EU crisis management and readiness, which review the threat picture and the necessary capabilities to respond to these threats. The defense ministers also want to improve the command capacity of EU missions and cooperation with other European missions, and increase readiness units.
The EU currently has six military operations and missions in areas where the unstable security situation also poses a threat to European countries.
"Estonia is an important contributor to the missions of the European Union and it is definitely necessary to participate in the stabilization of crisis areas affecting Europe. However, we need to be realistic in creating new capabilities and readiness units and focus first on ensuring that existing missions are manned by member states," the minister said. Laanet emphasized that it is also important for Estonia to support neighboring countries, including Georgia and Ukraine.
EU defense ministers also met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss joint areas of operation and further support for Afghanistan. The NATO chief also welcomed the decision of member states to invite the United States, Canada and Norway to participate in the European Union military mobility project.