Meeting the Foreign Minister of Poland Radosław Sikorski in Tallinn today, Foreign Minister Urmas noted that Poland is an important and close partner for Estonia in several areas. “Our similar views are the basis for our close co-operation. For instance, we appreciate the contribution of the Polish Air Force in guarding our air space,” he said.
Poland has participated in the Baltic air patrol mission since 2006. “Even now, we have a Polish rotation, which ends in August, but Poland has made a commitment to participate in air patrols in the future,” Paet said. According to the Foreign Minister, he is also glad to note that starting from this April, a Polish expert will work at the NATO Cyber Defence Centre.
In addition to close defence co-operation, Poland is Estonia’s largest and most important foreign trade partner in Central Europe. “In 2011, the volume of Estonian-Polish trade amounted to 1.04 billion euros and Poland is Estonia’s seventh largest foreign trade partner,” Paet said. The Foreign Minister also highlighted smooth consular co-operation between the two states. “According to our visa representation agreement, Poland represents us in issuing visas in North Korea, Ethiopia, and Colombia, while we represent Poland in Pskov,” he added.
Speaking about the European Union, Paet noted that not unlike Poland, Estonia hopes to achieve a competitive Europe of solidarity and openness. “This requires an efficient and functioning internal and labour market, the creation of a European scientific area and an EU budget that is looking towards the future,” the Foreign Minister said, listing the steps that need to be taken to secure the future of Europe.
The Foreign Ministers also emphasized that in addition to Europe’s internal issues, it is still important to deal with the European Union’s neighbours, because the eastern partners of the European Union continue to need our attention and support. “Estonia supports the eastern partners via the Centre of Eastern Partnership in Tallinn, for example. Today, together with my Polish colleague, we will open a seminar aimed at the representatives of the civil society of Belarus, focusing on issues related to democracy and parliamentarism,“ Paet said and added that despite some recent negative developments in Belarus, we must continue to support democratic forces and civil society in the country.
Paet and Sikorski also discussed energy and transport and touched upon other current affairs, including developments in Russia and Ukraine.