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Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia emphasized the importance of European countries investing heavily in defense to avoid being caught off guard, drawing parallels with Estonia’s situation before World War II. She warned that some European countries could be targeted by Russia if Ukraine were to lose the war, stressing the need to support Ukraine’s defense efforts. Kallas urged countries to commit 0.25% of their GDP to Ukraine military aid as part of the Ramstein coalition, emphasizing that such support would contribute to Ukraine’s victory over Russia. She also called for European countries to bolster their own defense systems to prevent aggression and ensure sustainable peace.

Kallas highlighted Estonia’s experience in the Interwar period, where defense investments were low until it was too late to ramp up preparations for war. She stressed the importance of leaders explaining the need for increased defense spending to their electorate and dispelling the misconception that it signifies a pro-war stance. Emphasizing the principle of “peace through strength,” Kallas argued that aggressors are provoked by weakness, making it crucial for European and NATO countries to invest in defense to deter potential threats. She underlined the necessity of preparing for conflict before it becomes too late to effectively respond.

The European Union is currently undergoing a significant restructuring of its defense policy, with proposals to enhance defense industrial capacity through joint procurements and other initiatives. However, financing this investment boost has become a contentious issue among EU leaders, especially as many member states struggle to meet NATO’s target of 2% of GDP on defense expenditures. The idea of issuing Eurobonds to raise funds earmarked for defense spending has sparked debate, with concerns about the potential unequal burden on richer member states. Kallas supported the use of Eurobonds to fund defense projects and advocated for revising the European Investment Bank’s mandate to finance defense initiatives.

To address the funding challenge, Kallas suggested utilizing windfall profits from immobilized Russian assets to support Ukraine’s defense efforts and tightening sanctions on the Russian war machine. She called for closing loopholes that enable sanction circumvention and emphasized the need to take proactive measures to curb Russian aggression. Kallas encouraged the EU to prioritize defense spending and leverage financial resources to enhance security in the region. By pooling resources and adopting innovative financing mechanisms, European countries can strengthen their defense capabilities and deter potential threats effectively.

In light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and other regional challenges, Kallas stressed the urgency of investing in defense to ensure stability and security in Europe. She warned that peace on Russia’s terms is unsustainable and emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong defense posture to deter aggression. By taking proactive measures and committing to increased defense spending, European countries can demonstrate their readiness to defend against potential threats and uphold peace in the region. Kallas urged leaders to prioritize defense investments and work collaboratively to strengthen European defense capabilities and safeguard the continent’s security. Through strategic planning and coordinated efforts, European countries can enhance their resilience and readiness to address evolving security threats effectively.

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