TALLINN - Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who was invited to a meeting in Saariselka by Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, discussed global challenges related to the European Union’s foreign policy with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton as well as with his Spanish, Italian, French, Swedish and Turkish colleagues. They discussed strategic partnership with the world’s political superpowers, the U.S., Brazil, China and India, as well as co-operation opportunities with neighboring countries in Europe.
Ashton and the foreign ministers discussed the creation of a strong EU foreign service. Paet said that “The creation of a strong and comprehensive European External Action Service will help us make the union’s foreign policy more unified and more influential globally.”
Other topics discussed included the EU’s role and co-operation with the U.S., China, Brazil and India in resolving global problems like climate and nuclear issues and international conflicts. According to Paet, Estonian and European security depend very much on the global security environment and on how effectively international co-operation can prevent and manage crises. “Military and civil activities and development aid must all provide equal support to stabilizing and building up international crisis zones,” Paet added.
In talking about the importance of the EU’s Eastern Partnership in the development of the European neighborhood, Paet noted that Estonia supports taking EU and Eastern Partnership relations to a new level. “In the near future, the European Union must focus on positive developments in Eastern Partnership countries and the Western Balkans, including our very important co-operation with Turkey,” Paet asserted. He added that the stable development of the union’s neighboring nations is essential to increasing the EU’s global influence and competitiveness and also coming out of the economic downturn.
The Eastern Partnership became an official policy of the EU in the spring of 2009. According to the Estonian foreign minister, there are plans to establish an Eastern Partnership training center in Tallinn in order to give practical support to Estonia’s Eastern Partners. “The first full-length training seminar will take place in April,” he added.
The meeting in Saariselka took place March 12-14, with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also taking part.