2015 FPI Forum: A Europe Whole and Free

< Back to the Summary Page for the 2015 FPI Forum

"A Europe Whole and Free"
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
Moderator: James Kirchick

Video  |  Key Quotations  |  Transcript

Key Quotations

“So, here we are, facing a world in which those agreements that we thought, especially in the post‑Cold War era, would be the foundation of peace and security, don't seem to work.” – President Toomas Hendrik Ilves

“We cannot accept the annexation and incorporation of territory ‑‑ I mean, basically, a repeat of what we saw in Austria in 1938 or in the Baltic countries in 1940.” – President Ilves

“In January of 2008, at that time then‑President Medvedev and also then‑Prime Minister Putin each made a statement saying, ‘Well, the real reason for the Georgia War was to prevent them from joining NATO.’  I mean that should have set off alarm bells.  But at the time we were all trying to have a strategic partnership with them in Europe.” – President Ilves

“If there is any unity in Europe on issues such as Ukraine sanctions, it is maintained by the leadership of Angela Merkel.  That is ‑‑ I mean that is not always so understood when I read the U.S. press, that basically, without her sort of pushing things, Europe would be a lot less coherent and cohesive.  And I really couldn't contemplate life after Merkel.” – President Ilves

“If you look at the Pew study of attitudes towards Russia across the countries that are studied there, I mean, you would say [Moscow’s messaging campaign] has been a miserable failure, that two‑and‑a‑half, three years ago, there was ‑‑ an overwhelming majority of Germans had a favorable opinion of Russia.  Today, a very small number of Germans have a favorable opinion.” – President Ilves

“It is just not possible for Europe to use force in the Middle East.  And so that basically leaves Europe in a position of, well, we are not going to do it, well, there is ‑‑ who else is going to do it, and basically, it is the United States or Russia. So, Europe is on the sidelines.” – President Ilves

“The biggest threat to European security in the cyber domain comes from an unwillingness of most countries, actually, to take adequate measures to prevent cyber espionage.  That is to say ‑‑ I don't want to get into too long a discussion ‑‑ this is my favorite topic ‑‑ but basically, as long as you have the level of security that you currently see in most countries, in most governments, it is going to keep happening.” – President Ilves

Mission Statement

The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
Read More