Paet opens Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership

  • 2011-02-02
  • By Ella Karapetyan

TALLINN - The training programs Estonia has offered to countries in the EU Eastern Partnership have now found a permanent home. The Eastern Partnership Center, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Estonian School of Diplomacy, was opened on Jan. 26, in Tallinn, by Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.

The center is aimed at the six countries that make up the EU Eastern Partnership: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. Its main objective is improving administrative capacity as well as the capability for cooperation with the EU, in organizing seminars, roundtables, courses and meetings in other formats.

At the opening ceremony of the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership , Paet emphasized that the center will give Estonia and other European Union member states a good opportunity to contribute to the development of the Eastern Partners and help to strengthen relations between these nations and the European Union.

Paet stated that the goal of the activities of the Center is to strengthen the administrative capabilities of the public sector in Eastern Partner states and share reform experiences with them. “Over the past ten years, Estonia has given instruction based on its own reform experiences to hundreds of officials from our Eastern Partners,” Paet stated. “The opening of the Center of Eastern Partnership will allow us to support our Eastern Partners even more effectively in their integration with the European Union and the implementation of reforms,” he added.

The foreign minister added that the center will organize instructional seminars for state officials and diplomats of the Eastern Partners, as well as training programs for young diplomats and research activities on the topic of Eastern Partnership. The center will increase the ability of the nations involved in the partnership project to hold negotiations and to cooperate with the European Union and its institutions.

The Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership is being funded by the Foreign Ministry. The center also receives support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Finnish Foreign Ministry. For Estonia, the Eastern Partnership states are a priority not only politically and economically, but also as partners for development cooperation.