Closer Baltic ties needed

  • 2011-11-02
  • From wire reports

COMMON GOALS: Urmas Paet (left) and Edgars Rinkevics discuss how to keep the EU in one piece.

TALLINN - In his meeting in Tallinn on Oct. 31 with the new foreign minister of Latvia, Edgars Rinkevics, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasized that it is in the interests of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to intensify co-operation in the energy and transport sectors, reports the Foreign Ministry. “An important step both practically and politically would be to regulate electricity imports from third countries, which would give investors a sense of security when investing in electricity production in the Baltic region,” said Paet. It is also important to work together to reach a political agreement regarding the financing of the Rail Baltica railway.

“A prerequisite for political approval is getting the support of the European Union,” Paet emphasized.
In talking about security matters, Paet noted that Estonia would like to extend the NATO air policing mission. “The air policing mission is a good example of the successful implementation of NATO’s defense-related cooperation. We anticipate that the member states will support continuing the mission after the year 2018,” he stated. Foreign Minister Paet also expressed his satisfaction over Latvia’s cooperation with the NATO Cyber Defense Center of Excellence.

When talking about bilateral relations, the foreign ministers agreed that the two countries are very close in the political and cultural sectors as well as other areas. Paet stated that cooperation between the Estonian and Latvian Foreign Ministries has also run smoothly. “The Estonian and Latvian embassies in Cairo work in the same space,” Paet stated.
In discussing cooperation in the cultural sector, the foreign ministers highlighted the annual Estonian-Latvian/Latvian-Estonian translation award. “Soon we will be announcing the contest for the award once again,” said Paet. He added that Estonia’s and Latvia’s cooperation in visa representation and consular work also functions very well.

Paet and Rinkevics also discussed European Union matters and agreed that the European Union must continue to support and help those nations that value democracy and have the goal of becoming more closely integrated with the EU. The foreign ministers also discussed the economic situation in Europe and matters related to the EU financial framework. Foreign Minister Paet asserted that the only solution to the crisis is a responsible financial policy and structural changes.