At his meeting with British Minister for Europe David Lidington in Tallinn today, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that in order to achieve new economic growth we must focus on developing the European Union internal market. “We must focus on carrying out the reforms that are most essential in terms of competitiveness and will provide support for economic growth. In addition to developing the common internal and digital markets, we must also address the energy and transport sectors and the physical connections within the internal market,” said Paet.
During their discussion, Paet and Lidington also noted that with the signing of the fiscal compact at the last European Council, the European Union took an important step forward in resolving the euro zone’s trust and debt crisis. “All the EU member states should responsibly implement the necessary measures – the principles of a balanced budget and minimal government debt – in order to get out of the crisis,” Paet emphasised.
In the course of the meeting Paet and Lidington also addressed bilateral relations between Estonia and Great Britain. The foreign minister thanked Great Britain for supporting the indefinite extension of the air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “In the future we would like to see British planes ensuring the security of our airspace,” he noted. Paet also invited Great Britain to participate in the work of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre in Tallinn.
The ministers also spoke about security matters. In light of the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, it is essential to confirm the entire alliance’s commitment to guaranteeing collective security. “Additional important topics for Estonia at the summit are strengthening cyber security in NATO and continuing with the open-door policy,” he added.
In talking about Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Paet noted that Estonia continues to have good co-operation with Great Britain on the Helmand Province Provincial Reconstruction Team. “Estonia has its own health care expert in Helmand, who works to build up the province’s health care sector,” he said. Afghanistan is also one of Estonia’s priority partners for development co-operation. The Estonian minister also said that Estonia would continue contributing three police officers to the NATO Training Mission and five civil experts to the EUPOL mission.
When talking about international developments, Paet and Lidington both expressed concern over the ongoing tense situation in Syria. “The Syrian authorities must immediately end the violence directed at civilians and stop violating human rights. They also must allow impartial humanitarian aid organisations to gain access to those in need,” said Paet. “We also support the Arab League’s efforts to end the violence and call on all the members of the UN Security Council, especially Russia and China, to co-operate to help stop the violence,” he added.
The foreign ministers also spoke about Eastern Partnership, matters related to the reform of the European Criminal Court, and European Union-Russia relations.
Photo from the meeting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry