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Foreign Minister Paet: European Union’s Course is Free Trade and Visa Freedom with Eastern Partners

13.12.2010

No. 394-E

At the meeting of European Union and Eastern Partnership foreign ministers in Brussels today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that very rapid and practical steps towards free trade and visa freedom are needed in the European Union’s relations with Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. Paet stated that the European Union must first and foremost be successful in its own neighbourhood. “It is clear that the European Union’s relations with its neighbours must predominantly be based on real developments in those nations. The speed of progress in free trade and visa freedom is dependent on these developments,” he added. Paet stated that it is also of utmost importance to create new energy and transport connections between European Union members and Eastern Partner states.

Foreign Minister Paet acknowledged that although steps have been taken to kick off Eastern Partnership, there is still a great deal to be done. “Strengthening Eastern Partnership is the shared obligation of the European Union and its partners. The European Union must be more open and helpful, while the partners must develop more vigorously,” noted Foreign Minister Paet.

During the meeting Foreign Minister Paet also gave an overview of the Eastern Partnership training centre being established in Tallinn, the goal of which is to increase the administrative capability of the public sector and to share experiences.

The European Union foreign ministers’ discussion on Eastern Partnership today is tied to the development of the European Union Neighbourhood Policy and the meeting of European Neighbourhood Policy ministers scheduled to take place on 1 February 2011. It was also in preparation for the Eastern Partnership meeting on 27 May 2011 in Budapest.

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
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