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Foreign Minister Paet: The European Union’s Relations With its Neighbours Are as Important as Relations With Larger Countries

13.09.2010

No. 273 – E

At the European Union foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the European Union’s relations with its neighbours are as important as its relations with larger countries and that the EU Neighbourhood Policy requires complete attention and dedication. “If the European Union fails in its own neighbourhood, it will be difficult to be successful elsewhere,” said Paet.

Paet noted that the European Union and its member states must rationally consider how to determine the union’s strategic goals and partners. “In determining strategic partnerships, we must weight many strategically influential factors in addition to economic and trade potential, such as stability, regional and international ties, the prevalence of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and crime, energy security, military and crisis management capability, immigration flow, the system of values, culture, etc.,” said the foreign minister, listing various factors of the EU’s foreign policy.
The European Union foreign ministers confirmed the need to develop goal-related relations with the union’s strategic partners China, India and Brazil. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stressed that while the union is developing indisputably necessary relations with these countries, it must also continue intensifying co-operation with the USA and other democratic nations. “The European Union’s transatlantic relations must be secure, and close co-operation with NATO is also necessary,” Paet noted.

Paet added that the discussion on the European Union’s strategic relations must also be expressed in the division of resources in the EU External Action Service. “The European Union must also co-ordinate its own message within the G8 and G20 organisations,” he said.
During the Gymnich meeting in Brussels, the European Union foreign ministers also met with EU candidate countries Turkey, Croatia and Macedonia*.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that Estonia supports the steady movement of Turkey, Iceland and the Western Balkan countries towards accession to the European Union. “Every candidate country must continue implementing reforms so that accession can occur without additional conditions and at the moment when each individual state is completely ready for it,” Paet stated. “Close communication and co-operation help make preparations successful. Estonia is also open to helping and will gladly share its experiences related to accession,” he added.
“Estonia hopes that Croatia, for example, will be able to complete the preparations necessary for accession in the first half of next year,” said Paet.

*Former Yugloslav Republic of Macedonia

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