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Estonia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Latvia and Lithuania would like to see the European Union representations around the world provide consular assistance

12.09.2011

At a meeting at Pädaste Manor on Muhu Island, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, Latvian Foreign Minister Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis and Deputy Foreign Minister Egidijus Meilūnas of Lithuania and discussed the possibility of the European Union representations around the world providing consular assistance.

“The European Union has representations in almost all the countries of the world and they should be given the additional assignment of providing consular assistance, so that all the citizens of the European Union member states can get assistance even if their countries do not have embassies in the specific country. This would provide an opportunity for using existing resources more efficiently and providing people with practical help,” Foreign Minister Paet said.

At the meeting, the foreign ministers of the Benelux and Baltic countries also spoke about Israeli-Palestinian relations. “Israel and Palestine must restart their mutual discussions,” Paet said. “All the decisions of the international community, including the UN, must help to restart the bilateral talks, not the opposite,” he added.

The foreign ministers also talked about the European Union Eastern Partnership at Pädaste. According to Paet, there have unfortunately been some setbacks in the development of the Eastern Partnership countries, but the European perspective provides significant support for the continuation of reforms. “At the same time, the European Union must continue to demand adherence to the principles of the rule of law,” he added.

Speaking about the situation in Belarus, the foreign ministers found that the release and rehabilitation of political prisoners, as well as ending the persecution of human rights activists, are of primary importance. “Only then will it be possible to take the European Union policies aimed at Belarus to a new level,” Foreign Minister Paet noted. “Support for civil society in Belarus must be continued,” he added.

At the meeting, the foreign ministers also discussed issues related to European Union enlargement, i.e. the initiation of accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro, and participation in Afghanistan.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/


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