TALLINN - European Union defense ministers during their video meeting on Tuesday discussed defense cooperation within the European Union and further developments concerning the defense initiative.
The list of projects financed from the pilot project of the European Defense Fund was presented at the meeting, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Defense said. Four Estonian companies taking part in it stand to get 10 million euros from the European budget combined.
"It's positive to see the plans that were agreed upon during the Estonian presidency having borne fruit and the European Union having begun to actively finance the European defense industry to develop Europe's defense capability, and which also benefits Estonian defense industry companies," Estonian Defense Minister Juri Luik said after the meeting.
In addition, the ministers talked about strengthening the organizational capability of European armed forces, further developments related to the defense initiatives and cooperation, as well as defense budgets. Luik stressed that no concessions must be made in defense expenditure due to economic constraints, as the threats that we are facing have not changed.
Luik also pointed out that investments in defense play an important role in restarting the economy.
"Achieving a credible defense capability of Europe is not possible without necessary investments; it cannot be about how much defense budgets should be cut during the crisis, but how much in additional investments is necessary to reach our level of ambition," he said.
The European defense policy and defense industry action plans, in which the establishment of a European Defense Fund constitutes a key part, were agreed upon during the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU and at the initiative of Estonia. Estonia also is one of seven EU member states whose company leads a defense industry consortium.