TALLINN - The foreign ministers of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation format (Nordic-Baltic 8, NB8) and the Visegrad group (Visegrad 4, V4) on Wednesday discussed the COVID-19 crisis and its geopolitical impact, as well as current issues in the European Union and international cooperation.
It was an annual and eighth NB8+V4 meeting, organised jointly by the Czech Republic, the current President of the V4, and Estonia, the coordinator of the NB8 this year. The ministers talked about the COVID-19 crisis and its geopolitical impact, as well as current issues in the European Union and international cooperation, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The foreign ministers agreed that the crisis has once again demonstrated the importance of cooperation and information exchange, particularly when planning exit strategies. On European Union issues, they underlined the need to conclude negotiations on the multi-annual financial framework, including the recovery instrument, while taking the objective of climate neutrality into account.
Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu highlighted infrastructure projects that are important for Estonia, such as Rail Baltic, and synchronization, and the importance of the cohesion policy, common agricultural policy and digital agenda of the European Union.
In his statement, Reinsalu emphasized that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastern Partnership countries needed the support of the European Union.
"In the current situation, it is even more important to focus on boosting the resilience and strategic communication capabilities of our partner countries," Reinsalu said. "By supporting the Eastern Partnership countries in overcoming the coronavirus crisis, we should focus more on using digital solutions and coordinated activities to achieve the best results."
"Lasting international security, stability and peace requires genuine and continuous adherence to international law and norms, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states," Reinsalu emphasized. "At the meeting, we reaffirmed our support for the Eastern Partnership countries, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine. We must implement substantial reforms to increase the stability and resilience of Eastern Partnership countries."
The foreign ministers discussed organizing a high-level summit this June.
"Regular high-level dialogue is important to keep the Eastern Partnership countries up to date with the reforms of the European Union," Reinsalu said.
"However, if the Eastern Partnership summit cannot be held physically this year, it should take place in early 2021."
A joint statement was adopted at the meeting by Estonia and the Czech Republic as the respective coordinators of the NB8 and V4 cooperation formats.