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President Kaljulaid in Berlin: I do hope that Europe will remain unified, despite the crises

"Europe has succeeded in remaining unified on foreign policy and security matters, despite the crises and conflicts of recent years," said President Kersti Kaljulaid today in Berlin in an address given to the members of the German Council on Foreign Relations. "I do hope that the European Union will also remain united in times when our basic values are threatened," emphasised the Head of State.

President Kaljulaid stated that there have always been various groupings over the years that have predicted the end of the European Union and, most definitely, the referendum in the United Kingdom did give impetus to such opinions. "The European Union Member States may disagree with each other, yet they seldom have real clashes; I can assure you of this, as I was employed by a European Union institution for 12 years," added President Kaljulaid.

According to the Head of State, security is the most important challenge today for Europe. "We must view Europe as a common entity, and we can only ensure security by not using approaches that focus on a single country or region to find common solutions. The same applies for energy security and transport. We must establish physical connections between the various regions of Europe," she added.

At the meeting with German foreign policy experts, President Kaljulaid said that Russia is a military force to be reckoned with, despite their economic difficulties. She emphasised that a Russian attack against NATO – the most powerful political and military alliance in the world – is highly unlikely. However, Europe needs to remain highly attentive and adopt political decisions, based on real situations, said President Kaljulaid. "Dialogue with Russia is important, but it is highly ineffective to rely on dialogue alone," she added.

President Kaljulaid recalled that the aim of NATO is to maintain peace. "Our biggest goal is to avoid and not provoke conflict; we must contribute to deterrence. This is a long process that will not end overnight," said the Head of State. According to the President, increasing the defence expenditure of countries remains important.

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