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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Estonia Would Like Rapid Progress with European Union Candidate Countries

29.05.2013

No 180-E

At a meeting in Brussels with the foreign ministers of European Union candidate countries Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia*, and Montenegro, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia supports European Union enlargement and intensifying relations with candidate countries. “The prospect of European Union enlargement motivates aspiring countries to make reforms, and Croatia’s accession in July should give a new impetus to other candidates, especially in the Western Balkans,” Paet said.

The Estonian foreign minister noted that the European Union is still attractive, which was demonstrated by the recent agreement, facilitated by the European Union, between Serbia and Kosovo on the topic of the future of North Kosovo. The agreement allows both countries to move forward with European integration. “The implementation of this agreement, which Serbia and Kosovo confirmed just confirmed with an action plan, is especially important,” he added.

Estonia supports starting European Union accession negotiations with Serbia, as Serbia has fulfilled the necessary requirements. “The European Commission recommended starting accession negotiations with Serbia in its April report, on the condition that its relations with Kosovo improve,” the foreign minister explained. We would like to open negotiations with Kosovo to conclude a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU, he added.

Paet said that Estonia also supports starting accession negotiations with Macedonia as soon as possible, because the European Commission has recommended doing so many times.

On the topic of Montenegro, the Estonian foreign minister said that he hopes accession negotiations with the country continue at a good pace.

Regarding Iceland’s accession negotiations, which have so far gone well, Paet noted that taking into account the recent parliamentary elections in the countries we need to be ready for a potential break in negotiations, though the hope is that this won’t happen. “Estonia feels it is essential to enlarge the European Union in the direction of Northern Europe as well, and Iceland is a very strong candidate,” he added.

“In order to support the continuation of its reforms, Turkey needs a clear European Union perspective,” said the foreign minister. “Negotiations should be revived and the process of discussing new chapters should be given new momentum,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet met in Brussels with European Commission Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.


* Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Additional information:
Helen Ennok
Press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
+32 474 98 16 57

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
+372 637 7654
press@mfa.ee
www.vm.ee

 

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