Kallas to Stubb: Estonia, Finland face common challenges as EU, NATO border countries

  • 2024-05-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on Monday met with Finnish President Alexander Stubb, who is on a state visit to Estonia until Wednesday, noting that Finland and Estonia face common challenges as border countries of the European Union and NATO.

The prime minister and president discussed upcoming international summits, support for Ukraine, connectivity and security of the Baltic Sea region, as well as the situation at the external borders of the European Union and NATO.

"I am very happy to welcome Alexander Stubb back to Estonia, now in the position of president," Kallas said. "As EU and NATO border countries, we have many common challenges, and the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO has expanded our opportunities to cooperate in the field of defense and security. We were also able to discuss preparations for the NATO summit in Washington and the peace summit in Switzerland. If neighbors join forces, they can achieve more."

Kallas noted that the defense cooperation between Estonia and Finland is very good and together with Sweden it is important to prioritize cooperation at sea, especially in the Gulf of Finland. The prime minister also emphasized that the countries must together convince their allies and partners to make more efforts to find money for defense investments.

"For NATO's new defense plans to be fully supported by critical capabilities and reserves, it is necessary for all allies to accelerate their efforts," Kallas said. "Increasing defense readiness is also a priority for us in the European Union."

The prime minister of Estonia and the president of Finland also highlighted the need to jointly strengthen energy security and maritime infrastructure. They also discussed how to counter Russia's hybrid attacks, including migration pressure, and enhance the impact of international sanctions against Russia.

"The border countries could serve as an example here for the rest of the European Union. For example, the agreement between our customs authorities, which promises a better fight against sanctions evasion, proves that regional measures work," Kallas said.

The prime minister and the president agreed that support for Ukraine must be vigorously continued. Kallas emphasized that both NATO and the European Union must send a clear signal that Ukraine's accession to these organizations is progressing.

Kallas also gave Stubb an overview of a law recently passed by the Riigikogu, which allows the use of frozen Russian assets for the reconstruction of Ukraine, and expressed hope that a solution will be quickly found at the level of the European Union and the G7.