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Foreign Minister Paet in Germany: European debt crisis impacts the entire world


No 274-E

Today in Rügen, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis and Latvian Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis discussed the state of Europe’s economy, the EU’s relations with Russia, Eastern Partnership issues, opportunities for cooperation between Baltic Sea states and energy security.

To keep the European debt crisis from deepening further and spreading, and to ensure the stability of the Eurozone, Paet said, the European Union's states must proceed from the principle of budgetary balance and begin reducing their debt burden. "Because the world financial system is closely interconnected, the debt crisis affects the whole world economy and thus Eurozone countries have a major responsibility and obligation to make a contribution toward improving the situation. As a state that implements a stringent monetary policy, we expect all member states, especially those in the debt crisis, to take responsible internal action to manage the crisis.” Paet added that it was important to take pre-emptive steps to prevent similar crises in future.

In discussing relations between the European Union and Russia, Foreign Minister Paet said it will be important to keep making progress in cooperation in all fields, such as the modernization partnership, development of trade and the visa dialogue. The EU-Russia partnership must be based on binding agreements and progress toward similar values. "Cross-border cooperation is one of the priorities for Estonia as a country on the periphery of the European Union and attention must continue to be paid to functioning of the European Union’s external border with Russia. Border queues and obstacles to trade must disappear. It is also in the European Union’s interests that Russia join the World Trade Organization (WTO),“ added Paet.

In the discussion on Eastern Partnership, the foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and German Foreign Minister said that the European Union must be more active in supporting partner states so that they would remain on the path of reforms. "We want the eastern partners to be integrated as closely as possible in practice with the European Union. We must focus on specific projects and programs that have visible results, such as border administration, the fight against corruption and supporting small business,“ said Paet.

The Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian and German foreign ministers discussed the situation in Ukraine and Belarus in the context of the EU Eastern Partnership. Paet said Eastern Partners should use all facets of European Union assistance to carry out reforms.

The foreign ministers said the effective implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy would help strengthen cooperation. "In the context of the Baltic Sea Strategy, it is important for Estonia that new transport connections be created on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, new energy networks, promotion of innovation and cooperation of research institutions and removing obstacles from the internal market,” said Paet.

Energy security issues were also discussed. Paet said that to ensure European energy security, suppliers must be diversified, additional energy links between member states must be established, and a actually functioning energy market must be created. "A key part of a functioning energy market also includes creating fair market conditions in the field of electricity and gas trade. These rules must also be followed by third countries that wish to operate in the EU market,” he said. Paet added that it will be necessary to build additional energy connections between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the Nordics as well as a common Nordic-Baltic power and gas market.

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