TALLINN - According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, during his meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet invited the Netherlands to participate in the Baltic air policing mission. “The Netherlands participated in policing our skies in 2005 and is welcome to do so again,” he added.
Paet and Rosenthal emphasized the importance of defense-related cooperation between the Netherlands and Estonia. “In October, Estonia signed an agreement with the Netherlands to procure SISU armored vehicles for the Estonian Defense Forces. We also highly value the Netherlands’ offer of training opportunities for Estonian officers and officials who work with defense policy at the Netherlands Defense College and in the Belgium-Netherlands Mine Warfare School,” he added.
Estonia and the Netherlands are of the position that the European Union should enforce a stricter financial and economic policy than before. “We are both of the position that the European Union budget for next year should not increase by more than 2.91 percent. The budget must be geared towards achieving the goals of the European Union’s new economic growth and employment strategy ‘Europe 2020’,” said Foreign Minister Paet.
The Netherlands is an important investor in Estonia. “In terms of direct investments, the Netherlands ranks third among nations that invest in Estonia, after Finland and Sweden,” said Paet. There are 261 businesses with Dutch participation in Estonia. “A favorable business environment, developed infrastructure, and joining the eurozone all make Estonia attractive to foreign investors,” said the foreign minister.
Relations between the Netherlands and Estonia are strengthened by the opportunity to learn Estonian that is offered at the University of Groningen. The ministers also spoke about cooperation between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Estonia will be organizing the meeting of the Baltic and Benelux foreign ministers next year.
The Estonian and Dutch foreign ministers also discussed matters related to the further enlargement of the European Union and NATO’s relations with Russia. Rosenthal stated that the Dutch public is inclined to being skeptical about EU enlargement. Paet stated that it is essential for all European nations to maintain a clear perspective for joining the EU and that progress in the accession process should be based on achievements; however, it is also important that the candidate nations fulfill all the required conditions.
Paet said that Estonia would like for the European Neighborhood Policy and Eastern Partnership to be made stronger, which is important for both the target countries and the European Union. “We hope that a meeting of the Eastern Partnership foreign ministers, where the current status and future steps of Eastern Partnership would be discussed, can still take place this year,” said Paet.
The foreign minister said that Estonia, for its part, has been working actively on Eastern Partnership initiatives. “An Eastern Partnership training center will begin working in Tallinn very soon, the goal of which is to help increase administrative capacity in the public sector of Eastern Partnership states and share reform experiences. Representatives of the Netherlands are also welcome to contribute to the work of the center,” said Foreign Minister Paet.