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Estonia to Focus On Economy and Finance, Advancement of Relations with Eastern Neighbours and Issues of Migration and Border Management During Greek Presidency of EU


No. 2-E

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet listed economy and finance, advancement of relations with the eastern neighbours of the European Union and issues related to migration and border management as important topics for Estonia during the Greek presidency of the EU. Estonia and several other countries will also celebrate the 10th anniversary of their accession to the European Union this year.

Economy and finance are the most important topics for Estonia during the Greek presidency of the European Union. “It’s important to continue working on establishing an efficient common digital market by 2015,” said Foreign Minister Paet. “Agreements about eID and digital trust services should be reached before the new European Parliament takes office, and network and information security issues should also be dealt with. Work on establishing the banking association should also continue and we expect the Greek presidency to result in an agreement with the European Parliament about a common crisis solution mechanism.” Paet added that working on entering into trade agreements with strategic partners is also important.

The main priorities during the Greek presidency of the EU are migration and border management, and as a maritime country Greece would also like to develop the common maritime policy of the EU. “We feel that it’s necessary to continue working on the e-border packages, which should make the organisation of border crossings smoother, and it should help take measures against cross-border crime and illegal migration,” he said.

The foreign minister added that continuing to work with the union’s eastern neighbours is also important during the Greek presidency. “We must move forward with the results of the Eastern Partnership summit, which includes signing association agreements with Georgia and Moldova,” he said. “It would be good if we could do this as soon as we can.” He also said that the granting of visa-free access to the EU to Moldovan citizens should also be approved as soon as possible.

Paet also hopes to see progress in the EU integration of the Western Balkans and in the development of the framework of the cyber defence policy.

Greece will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union at the time of the European Parliament elections, which will result in a new European Parliament and European Commission in the second half of the year and a new President of the Council in autumn. This has also shone the spotlight on relations between the institutions of the European Union and institutional developments.

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