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Estonia Wants Strengthening of Europe’s Foreign Service


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At a meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Dublin today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the work done to build up the European External Action Service (EEAS) during its first two years has been positive. “However, the full functioning of the foreign service is a long-term assignment. Both the organisation and the quality of the work of the foreign service can be improved upon,” he noted.

According to Paet, Estonia would like for European Union delegations to play a greater role in aiding citizens in crisis situations, for example in co-coordinating potential evacuations. “We also support expanding the consular jurisdiction of the EU’s foreign service,” he added.

The Estonian foreign minister stated that the complicated challenges standing before the European Union’s common foreign policy require us to work more effectively and set good priorities. “Funding and political priorities must go hand-in-hand,” Paet said. Currently the Estonian state has sent 8 people to work in the foreign service and a total of 23 Estonians work in the European External Action Service.

In addition to strengthening the European foreign service, Estonia also feels that the European Union’s co-operation with regional organisations in conflict prevention, crisis management, and supporting democratic transitions is important, said Foreign Minister Paet during the discussion in Dublin.

“Recent positive examples of the European Union’s practical co-operation with regional organisations are working together with the Arab League in Syria and Libya and working to resolve the Mali crisis together with the Economic Community of West African States,” Paet stated. “Co-ordination and co-operation with local partners makes conflict prevention and crisis management more effective. Developments should focus on practical results and the purposeful use of capabilities.”

The Arab League has taken on an active role in resolving the toughest issues in the Arab world and has worked together with the international community. “This positive development should be promoted, and dialogue between the European Union and Arab League should continue on a high level,” said Paet. “We should focus on topics we can take on with similar approaches – for example regional crises like in Syria, the fight against terrorism, humanitarian aid, and the situation of refugees,” he added.

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