Roberta Metsola to Estonian parlt: Europe stronger than ever before

Roberta Metsola in Estonian parliament.
Roberta Metsola in Estonian parliament. Photo: Madis Veltman

In her speech to the Estonian Riigikogu on Monday, President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said that last years' crises have made Europe more resilient, determined and united than ever before

Metsola said that no big or small powers exist in Europe, and no one proves this more than Estonia.

«Despite its own security concerns, Estonia never scaled back on its warnings about Russia. Despite sharing a 300-kilometers-long border with the aggressor and former occupying power, Estonia took bold and quick decisions to decouple itself from Russian energy. A country that has consistently and, let me say, admirably put its money where its mouth is for Ukraine and in defense of our values and strategic priorities,» Metsola said. She added that just two weeks after Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine, the Estonian prime minister addressed the European Parliament to outline our first steps as a united European team in response to Russia's invasion. «Because Estonia knows what's at stake.»

Metsola noted that the debate on Europe's strategic autonomy must move from the theoretical to the practical.

«That is true when it comes to our competitiveness, our energy supplies, trade, and, of course, defense. Europe needs to step up in its own capabilities and create a new security and defense framework that complements, not competes with, NATO. The proposals from Estonia on strengthening European defense industry are important. We cannot wait any longer for that,» she said.

Metsola affirmed that the European Parliament's political, economic, military, financial, humanitarian and diplomatic support to Ukraine has been steadfast and it will remain steadfast.

«We will continue to condemn Russia's aggression and impose hard-hitting sanctions to impede the financing of Russia's war machine. These must be fully implemented and any loopholes closed. We will continue to call for Russian assets to be used to rebuild Ukraine. We will continue to hold culprits of war crimes to account, and we will continue to do whatever we can to assist Ukraine in the process of European integration,» she said, adding that Ukraine's security is Europe's security, and Ukraine's place is within the European Union.

In her speech, Metsola spoke about the crises that Europe has faced in recent years and the decisions relating to said crises, noting that the world is changing and Europe needs to change with it.

«The last years have not been easy. But as the saying goes, the strongest steel is forged in the hottest of fires. That is why I argue that Europe is stronger than it has been in the last decades -- that the crises that we faced made us more resilient, more determined and more united than we have ever been before,» she said.

Metsola said that the EU must be able to better cushion the economic and social impact of its decisions.

«We need to explain better why and how we are doing this, and why and how it matters,» she added.

«As someone once put it to me, there is an invisible line that people cannot be pushed beyond. People must have confidence in our processes, which are sometimes very difficult to explain and navigate. And those citizens must be able to afford the transitions that we are making, otherwise our policies will not succeed. That is the challenge we are facing in the next months before the European Parliament elections on June 9,» she said.

Metsola noted that together with members of the European Parliament she has made it her mission to burst through the Brussels bubble and bring Europe closer to the citizens they represent.

«We are here to speak to Estonian people, young people in particular, who I will meet later on today at Tallinn University, to explain our achievements, listen to their concerns, and to invite them not to miss being able to vote for who they want to represent them,» she said, and also called on Riigikogu to relay their citizens' sentiments, feelings and questions to the European Parliament and join the European Parliament in convincing their constituents to cast their vote.

During her one-day visit to Estonia, the president of the European Parliament also met with Estonian President Alar Karis and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, as well as with students of Tallinn University.