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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: European Union Must Intensify Economic Cooperation and Contractual Relations with Ukraine


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In a meeting today with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Leonid Kozhara, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet discussed Ukraine’s integration with the European Union in the context of the upcoming high-level Eastern Partnership meeting taking place in Vilnius in November and stressed the EU’s duty to support the countries of the Eastern Partnership in every way.

According to Paet, it is important to reach concrete results in Vilnius to intensify economic cooperation and strengthen relations with Ukraine and other states of the Eastern Partnership. “We want to reach the signing of an association agreement and the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the EU and Ukraine,” said Foreign Minister Paet. Also, Paet asserts that it is important to move forward with simplification of the visa acquisition process, with the objective of reaching visa freedom. “For all of this to occur, it is important that Ukraine strive for judicial reform as well as anti-corruption advocacy and engagement,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet noted that all of the states of the Eastern Partnership must have the opportunity to decide their own future and integrate with the European Union.

Energy security and the deepening of energy-related cooperation with the European Union were also discussed. According to Paet, Estonia considers diversification of the Eastern Partnership states’ energy sources to be important. “The European Union’s contribution to creating new energy connections is very important,” he added.

Additionally, Paet and Kozhara discussed Estonia-Ukraine bilateral relations. Paet confirms that Estonia is prepared to contribute to Ukraine’s development through development cooperation as well as through the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership. “Our main areas of development cooperation with Ukraine are supporting regional development, strengthening civil society, implementing information- and communications technology solutions in state management, and cooperating in the fields of education and inclusive economic development,” said Paet. Additionally, next year Estonia will continue to support nine Ukrainian students with scholarships for studies at Estonian universities and provide trainings for Ukrainian government officials at the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership.

Paet and Kozhara also spoke about economic ties between Estonia and Ukraine, including the concerns of Estonian entrepreneurs about operating in Ukraine. At the beginning of December there will be a meeting of an Estonia-Ukraine intergovernmental commission which will discuss this topic as well.

According to Paet, Estonia would like to intensify bilateral contractual relations as well. “We would like to sign an implementation protocol of a readmission agreement and move forward to conclude an agreement of mutual use of diplomatic real estate,” he said.

Paet and Kozhara also discussed cooperation between Estonia and Ukraine in international organisations, including the UN and OSCE. Ukraine is the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2013.



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