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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: European Union Must Be Able to React Quickly to Changes in its Neighbourhood

12.03.2012

No. 65-E

At the meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Copenhagen, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that taking into consideration the developments happening in the world today, the foreign activity of the entire European Union must become more focused and effective.

The foreign minister stated that it is important that the European Union be able to react adequately first and foremost to changes in its own neighbourhood. “Both our southern and eastern neighbourhoods are of utmost importance to the European Union, and the EU’s own well-being and ability to influence is dependent on our neighbours’ well-being, stability, and democratic development,” he added.

Taking into consideration recent developments in Russia and a new president taking office there, Foreign Minister Paet stated that the European Union should discuss and clearly state its positions regarding the development of EU-Russia relations. “We must emphasise the need to build a firm new foundation for our relations – in other words, to complete negotiations and conclude a new EU-Russia agreement,” he said.

Foreign Minister Paet said that an important factor in the European Union’s outside activities is developing a unified consular function within the External Action Service. “Thus far the aid provided to Estonian citizens by member states has been sufficient. However, we would like for the role of the European External Action Service to grow in the areas of providing crisis aid and co-ordinating the activities of the member states in a crisis situation,” he noted.

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