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Estonia Supports Correlation Between Support for European Union Neighbour Countries and Progress of Their Reforms

04.10.2011

No. 317-E

Today the government approved a new approach for the European Union Neighbourhood Policy. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Estonia supports the strengthening of the European Union Neighbourhood Policy and feels it is necessary to more effectively support the democratic and economic development of European Union neighbour states as well as their integration into the union. “The EU’s approach to neighbouring countries is varied and based on results – the more the country progresses with its reforms, the more opportunities and the greater support it should receive from the European Union,” emphasised Foreign Minister Paet. “More attention should be given to promoting democracy and human rights and to strengthening civil society,” he added.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia supports the integration of neighbouring countries with the European Union, first and foremost through the conclusion of association agreements, the creation of a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement, and the promotion of mobility, provided that the appropriate conditions are met. “In the long-term perspective, we see the expansion of the European Union internal market to our neighbouring states as a possibility. When it comes to our Eastern neighbours, European Union accession is a possibility as well,” said the foreign minister.

Paet emphasised that the political co-operation between the European Union and its neighbouring states must be made more effective, including the European Union’s more active participation in resolving long-term conflicts in its neighbourhood. “In the defence and security policy realm, we must significantly strengthen the co-operation frameworks for both Eastern Partnership as well as the Mediterranean Union. We also find that the synergy should be developed between the operational presence of European Union-led missions and helping with reforms in those same areas,” he added.

Paet stated that Estonia feels it is also necessary to further develop co-operation in specific areas between the European Union and neighbouring states. “We support the enlivening of economic co-operation, more effective immigration co-operation, and co-operation in sectors such as knowledge, information and technology, climate change and the environment, and transport and energy,” he added.

Paet also added that the financial resources allocated to the European Union neighbourhood and specific countries should be in accordance with the ambitions and results of Neighbourhood Policy. “Financing should be made more flexible and the use of resources should be more simple and effective. International financial institutions and other contributors should be included and multi-lateral co-operation promoted,” he said.

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