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Estonia Expects Progress in Resolving Debt Crisis and Development of Internal Market From Next EU Presidency Ireland


No 386-E

At his meeting in Tallinn today with Irish Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia expects progress to be made in resolving the debt crisis, enlarging the European Union, and developing the internal market during Ireland’s upcoming EU presidency.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that the priorities of Ireland’s EU presidency coincide with Estonia’s goals in the EU. “In order to restore the trustworthiness and stability of the European Union’s economy and the euro zone, it is essential to focus on economic growth and employment. More attention must be given to developing the EU’s common digital and services market as well as energy issues,” he noted.

Ireland’s last presidency of the EU was in the second half of 2004, the year Estonia acceded to the European Union.

In talking about the next budgetary period of the European Union, Paet emphasised the need to equalise direct agricultural investments and to allow for a higher percentage of cohesion policy funds to be received by the states that suffered the most during the economic crisis. He also emphasised the necessity of the Connecting Europe Facility for funding cross-border infrastructure projects.

“Countries that have been affected by the complicated economic situation but have nevertheless used European Union funds appropriately should get the opportunity to utilise more Cohesion Policy resources,” said Paet. “We also want for the EU’s new budget to enable more equal competition by further equalising the direct agricultural investments given to farmers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” he added.

Paet acknowledged the steps Ireland has taken to implement reforms that support economic growth and reduce the budget deficit. “Ireland’s positive adjustments in a difficult economic situation set an example for others,” he added.

The ministers also discussed further European Union enlargement. “The EU’s enlargement policy must continue in accordance with the existing principles. States that have made progress must receive more opportunities to move forward with the accession process,” Paet asserted. “We hope that the Irish presidency will be able to make progress in accession negotiations with Iceland. We also support the European Commission’s recommendation to open accession negotiations with Macedonia. Opening negotiations with Serbia would also be possible if Serbia fulfilled the set criteria,” the foreign minister said. Paet added that Estonia also supports concluding a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Kosovo.

The two also discussed Estonia-Ireland relations and co-operation in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Ireland is currently the chairman of the OSCE.

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