Press Release | Ukraine’s drawn-out accession process to NATO and the EU has exposed our own vulnerabilities, says Estonian Ambassador

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Peace, Security & Defence

The endgame for the EU in the Russia-Ukraine War will be decided upon how well-coordinated and integrated Europe is, said Kyllike Sillaste-Elling, Estonian Ambassador.

Speaking via videolink from Tallinn at Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security and Defence Summit held in Brussels on Thursday, the Ambassador said that protecting the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine will be dependent on the EU’s ability to stay coordination.

Speaking about the potential of the Bucharest Summit in 2008 where Ukraine was promised it would one day become a NATO member, she pointed out that while it gave hope to the citizens, ultimately without a clear roadmap, it exposed vulnerabilities in Europe’s coordination. “By leaving things open-ended, Russia felt they could take radical steps leading to a full-scale invasion,” the Ambassador said.

By granting Ukraine EU membership status, “it gave hope, but we now need to fill that with practical steps.”

“From our point of view, the existing European security architecture needs to be strengthened, NATO needs to be strengthened, in order to make this aggression impossible in the future.”

Vulnerability is the absence of unity in Europe. “There has never been a consensual European policy on Russia,” said Jaap de hoop Scheffer, Former Secretary General of NATO, during the panel.

Referring to the Bucharest process in 2008, Scheffer said one should not “make promises you can’t keep or deliver”.

“Let’s be serious. Invest more in global south. The success of our policies depends on the resilience of our democracies,” Scheffer continued.

Speaking during the same panel at Friends of Europe’s Peace, Security, and Defence Summit, Dmytro Zolotukhin, Founder of the Institute of Post-Information Society and former deputy minister of information policy of Ukraine, spoke about why aerial defence will require greater investment from the EU. “Ukraine will jump to Israel’s Iron Shield model, but Ukraine is several times bigger than Israel, and will require larger amount of investment to build this Iron Shield.”

“Ukrainians are fighting Europe’s war,” he went onto say.

Led by Friends of Europe, this annual summit is the flagship event of our Peace, Security & Defence programme. Bringing together senior decision-makers with out-of-the-box movers and shakers, this summit allows for an in-depth and innovative discussion on today’s most pressing security and defence issues.


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