Estonian PM: EU should issue joint bonds to boost European defense

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The EU should work on a plan to issue 100 billion euros ($108 billion) in Eurobonds to boost the European defense industry, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told Bloomberg on Feb. 18.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Kallas also said that European countries should do more to support Ukraine against Russian aggression.

The full-scale Russian invasion, soon to hit its two-year mark, was one of the key topics on the conference's agenda. European leaders also discussed ways to revive domestic defense production for their and Kyiv's needs, as U.S. assistance remains stalled by domestic political disputes.

"We are in a place where we need to invest more and (explore) what we can do together because the bonds that would be issued by separate countries individually are too small to scale up," Kallas said.

"Eurobonds could have a much bigger impact."

Bloomberg noted that the idea to jointly borrow funds to boost the defense industry has already been supported by French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel but countries like the Netherlands and Germany are likely to be more hesitant.

Calls to foster Europe's military self-reliance grew stronger due to the prospect of Donald Trump's return to the White House in this year's presidential election.

Trump raised concerns among NATO allies when he said he would encourage Russia to do "whatever the hell it wants" to members who do not meet the 2% defense spending mark.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that 18 of the 31 NATO members are expected to meet the goal of spending at least 2% of GDP in 2024, an increase of seven countries from the previous year.

Kallas also said in the interview with Bloomberg that European countries should step up efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons from standing stockpiles or those purchased abroad.

"Europe has done a lot and has to also do more. That is clear," the prime minister said, pointing out that "if we, as a small country, still find things that we can send, I'm sure that the bigger countries also have things that they can give or send to Ukraine so that they can defend themselves."

Read also: Zelensky in Munich: ‘If Ukraine left alone, Russia will destroy us’

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