The Chairman of the National Defence Committee Hannes Hanso is taking part in a defence conference in Paris. He said that Estonia must adopt a balanced and constructive approach to European defence cooperation.
“Today, the defence cooperation of the European Union is more intense than it has ever been, but when developing it we must not distance ourselves from crucial transatlantic relations and cooperation with NATO,” Hanso said.
Hanso sees defence expenditure as the core issue of defence cooperation. “The EU cannot realise its ambitions in security and common defence policy if the Member States are unable to increase the level of their defence expenditures,” Hanso said. “This is also the reason why the role of the US on the European continent is so fundamental today.”
Hanso advises Europe against sacrificing the vital transatlantic relation to current affairs. “We have meaningful cooperation ties and allied relations with the United States, and we must look beyond the four year election cycle,” he said. “We must create an added value to improve cooperation between the EU and NATO, without changing the basis of our security policy.”
In Hanso’s opinion, European defence cooperation should not try to emulate NATO but concentrate on a more efficient cooperation with defence industry, cyber defence, counter-terrorism, and sharing of intelligence.
The participants of the Summer Defence Conference in Paris focused their discussions on the European vision of its defence in the future and the possible focal points of the common defence cooperation.