Eastern Partnership States Closer to European Union Than Ever Before
Eestlased Eestis 24 May 2010  EWR
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At the informal meeting of the European Union and Eastern Partnership foreign ministers in Sopot, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that European Union enlargement has brought the six Eastern Partnership states closer to the European Union than they’ve ever been before.

Eastern Partnership became an official policy of the European Union in the spring of 2009. “The creation of Eastern Partnership was an important step, but unfortunately the policy has yet to receive sufficient funding, considering the importance of strategic partnerships,” Paet noted. “The funding given to Eastern Partnership should reflect its political importance for the European Union,” he added.

Estonia supports taking relations between the European Union and Eastern partners to the next level. “We support the concluding of free trade agreements, the expansion of visa freedom, and close practical co-operation with Eastern Partnership states in energy and infrastructure matters,” said Paet.

Paet mentioned that Estonia would like to establish an Eastern Partnership training centre to train young diplomats and other state officials from Eastern Partnership states.

The idea to create a friendship group for the third countries of Eastern Partnership was also discussed. Foreign Minister Paet said that Estonia took a supportive stance on Poland’s proposal to establish an information exchange mechanism for third countries interested in Eastern Partnership. “The existence of this sort of information exchange system and permanent contact individuals could facilitate the participation of third countries in Eastern Partnership projects,” said Paet.

The foreign ministers of the European Union member states and the foreign ministers of the Neighbourhood Policy Eastern Partnership countries participated in the meeting. The Eastern Partnership partner countries are Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Belarus.

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