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President Ilves at the German Council on Foreign Relations: Europe should act faster and more forcefully today


"I am concerned about the security of Europe. I am afraid that Europe will not have the courage and will to act fast enough to respond uniformly to today's challenge," told the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, in a speech given at the reputable German Council on Foreign Relations.

The Estonian Head of State spoke about the challenges posed by the changed security situation in Europe. Referring to the military activities of Russia in Ukraine and resultant international law crisis – which questions the validity of current agreements and rules with respect to all the parties involved – he invited his audience to take the situation seriously.

"In Europe, we will focus on immediate events, the next bad news story, but we should see the bigger picture – the significant, long-term processes that are taking place right now," said President Ilves.

He compared the changing security situation in Europe to the boiling of a frog – as we all know, a frog dropped into boiling hot water will jump out immediately, but as we start to increase the temperature slowly, the unsuspecting frog will be cooked: "Europe, too, is getting used to the new situation, little by little. Today, we accept the fact that Ukraine will not even be allowed to discuss the association agreement with the European Union on its own, although, only back in 2004, President Putin announced that Russia had nothing against Ukraine joining the European Union. Should we continue like this, we are at serious risk of being "cooked"."

The Estonian Head of State stressed that Europe needs strong leadership to change the situation.

"I cannot think of a more suitable country to take the leadership than Germany, having experienced life in both Western and Eastern Europe," stated President Ilves.

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