Where would we be today if we were not a NATO and EU member?
I have a phrase that fits perfectly, but it is not fit to print. Things would be very bad.
The first steps of the new government and the utterances of Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) ministers have made world news. How would you explain to your colleagues in the European Parliament these “good mood signs” and describing the president as an “emotionally riled up woman”?
All manner of hand signs, whether we’re talking about Oudekki Loone’s no pasaran or something else, work against the government’s goals and are damaging. Explanations as to what they mean at any given time are worthless as people can decide for themselves the context in which they are perceived.
Were you still commander of the armed forces, how would you explain to allies stationed at Tapa that we still share their values?
One cannot measure a government that I believe hasn’t even been in office for a week based solely on what is written in the press. (The government was sworn in on April 29 – V. K.)
Has the press misrepresented anything?
It has overreacted, definitely.
What could be the lesson from Brexit for Europe?
Support for the EU has increased in all member states. EU members stood up for the interests of a small country – Ireland. This suggests the union is working. Deciding by such narrow margins spells trouble. I don’t know how it will end, but it is bad for Europe and the UK.
What are the chances of there being a referendum on whether to remain in the EU in Estonia?
The result would be that of the Brits’ first referendum. I recently learned the UK had a referendum in 1979 where 67 percent of people found the country should remain a part of the EU.
You have said that one of Europe’s unpleasant truths is what President Trump has suggested: subpar defense spending. Estonia’s spending already exceeds 2 percent of GDP, while we’re aiming at 2.5 percent. What should it buy us?
Estonia’s defense spending is modest, but no country can endure much more. No matter how much money we allocate to defense – let’s say 10 percent – there will always be things we cannot afford. Also, it is not so much about spending as it is about people. We cannot find enough recruits for the defense forces. Air defense is the next thing we need, and it is singularly expensive. We can split the bill with Latvia and Lithuania.