We have started to share our e-governance experience with the Persian Gulf countries and are prepared to organise an e-state-related ministerial conference in the summer of 2013 in Tallinn, according to Foreign Minister Urmas Paet at the meeting of the ministers of the European Union and the Persian Gulf Co-operation Council countries held in Luxembourg.
Paet stated that the need to strengthen relations with the Persian Gulf states has grown over the past few years. “The joint efforts of the European Union and the Persian Gulf countries have been necessary for handling challenges in our unstable southern neighbourhood, and this co-operation could be expanded to various other sectors,” stated Foreign Minister Paet.
In order to make relations more strategic, the Estonian foreign minister proposed to his Persian Gulf and European Union colleagues that a joint e-state-related ministerial conference could be organised in Tallinn in the summer of 2013. “The ministers of some Persian Gulf countries have already come to Estonia to become acquainted with features of Estonia’s e-government. We have discussed co-operation opportunities and some projects have already begun,” Paet said. “A ministers’ conference focused on e-state topics would also be a good opportunity for the European Union and the Persian Gulf countries to strengthen their co-operation,” he added.
“Our prior experiences with successfully sharing our e-governance know-how with Arab countries – Egypt, Tunisia, and the Palestinian National Authority – have encouraged us to expand this co-operation to the Persian Gulf countries,” said Foreign Minister Paet. The use of e-governance, which is widespread in Europe, makes the political system more transparent and boosts the quality of public services.
In addition to making bilateral relations between the European Union and the Persian Gulf Co-operation Council countries more strategic, other topics discussed at the meeting yesterday were human rights, issues related to piracy and terrorism, and the situation in the European Union and its close neighbours.
The members of the Persian Gulf Co-operation Council are Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Helen Ennok, press spokesperson, Estonia’s Permanent Representation to the EU
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