Prime Minister: EU Member States must invest more in common security

19.12.2013 | 17:39

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Brussels, 19 December 2013 – Prime Minister Andrus Ansip emphasised at the European Council debate on defence and security matters, which began today in Brussels, that European Union Member States must take the development of common defence more seriously. In his speech, he called on countries to increase their defence budgets. “Decreasing defence expenditures are directly affecting the ability of European countries to operate,” Prime Minister Ansip said at the meeting of European Union heads of government and heads of state. “The principle of ‘less is more’ does not apply to the field of defence,” he added. The Prime Minister remarked, however, that today’s meeting would send a message to our allies across the Atlantic, and European Union Member States should commit to investing more in common security. Estonia considers it important that defence expenditures would also indirectly influence the economy and the development of the defence industry, which in turn shapes the European Union’s position in the world. Additionally, Prime Minister Ansip drew attention to the need for greater co-operation between the Member States. “Working together creates new opportunities in conditions of limited resources,” he said. As an example for his colleagues, the Prime Minister cited Baltic and Nordic co-operation in joint procurements and in the development of defence forces. “Estonia has made successful joint procurements with the Finns and the Swedes, which has given us the opportunity to cover similar needs at a more reasonable price,” Ansip said. Additionally, the Prime Minister expressed his appreciation that the European Union has begun to pay more attention to cyber defence. He called on Member States to carry out joint exercises and training, also involving NATO. Based on Estonia’s proposal, the common need for cyber security training has also been outlined in the Council’s conclusions. Also, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen participated in today’s Council meeting to emphasise that the development of a greater commitment to defence will, in turn, strengthen NATO. Common security and defence policy is on the Council’s agenda again in 2015. At that time, an assessment of the current implementation of the Council’s decisions and the planning of further steps to strengthen European defence will take place. More information: Inga Bowden, phone: +372 52 81 467