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Foreign Minister Paet in Hungary: Support for EU Eastern or Southern Partners Cannot be Competition


No. 83-E

During their meeting in Gödöllõ, Hungary, the European Union foreign ministers emphasised that Northern African nations must reach their own conclusions regarding their desires and goals for peaceful and stable development. “Along with the other European Union member states, Estonia supports the political, economic and social reform of our southern neighbours’ societies,” stated Foreign Minister Urmas Paet. “The European Union must be active and visible is supporting these changes, especially in the areas of human rights and democracy,” he added.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet asserted that the financing of Neighbourhood Policy should be more closely tied to concrete results from reforms that show our southern partners’ willingness to make a serious effort. “This means that the European Union’s financial support would depend on concrete progress made by the state,” said Paet. He added that Eastern and Southern Partnership must not be put in competition with one another, since the most important thing is the activities and progress made by each individual state.

While talking about the immigration problems, including illegal immigration, that are being caused by the ongoing unstable situation in Northern Africa, the foreign ministers emphasised the necessity of concluding readmission agreements. “First and foremost it is essential to increase the capability of the institutions in our southern neighbours that deal with border, immigration and asylum issues and conclude readmission agreements with as many countries in the European Union’s neighbourhood as possible,” stated Foreign Minister Paet. He added that there are hundreds of thousands of people waiting to get into the EU and the EU must help them where they are in order to prevent people fleeing to Europe.

The European Union foreign ministers stressed the importance of promoting economic development in North African nations, since low economic development and the uneven distribution of prosperity is one major factor that led to the current unrest. “Estonia is in favour of working to further liberalise the trade regime. At the same time, it must depend on the progress made by each concrete state in carrying out reforms,” stated the foreign minister. “We should also help to develop the tourism sector in the region,” he added.

The ministers agreed that co-operation between the European Union and the countries located on the southern shores of the Mediterranean in the areas of renewable energy and energy security should be developed. “Creating energy connections would be a big step towards the given states joining the European Union energy market,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

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