On Monday, 10 May, Estonia's Foreign Minister Urmas Paet participated in a meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Brussels, where the upcoming European Union-Russia summit was discussed and issues related to piracy in Somalia and the situation in Iran were addressed. The foreign ministers are also discussing the development of the European Union’s relations with strategic partners China and Japan. During the General Affairs Council, the European Council taking place in June will be discussed.
The European Union foreign policy leaders discussed matters related to the European Union-Russia Summit that will take place in Rostov-on-Don on 31 May and 1 June, where the primary topics will be the economic crisis, climate change and energy, and visa dialogue. Foreign Minister Paet stated that at the summit the European Union plans to bring up the vital issue of protectionism and Russia joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO). “Economic and trade relations with Russia are an area in which we need to rapidly resolve problems and move forward,” said Foreign Minister Paet. “Economic and trade relations must be regulated by a new all-encompassing European Union-Russia agreement,” Paet added. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet believes that it is essential for Russia to quickly join the World Trade Organisation. “Both trade relations and the movement of people are inhibited by the limited capacity of the border between the European Union and Russia, which is why the border queue issues need to be resolved quickly,” Paet noted. The agenda for the EU-Russia Summit includes a discussion on the Partnership for Modernisation being developed between the European Union and Russia, which Foreign Minister Paet believes will be a good co-operation framework to provide opportunities to share reform experiences first and foremost on the local municipal government level. Foreign Minister Paet confirms that the visa dialogue between the European Union and Russia must be primarily based on technical readiness and that progress must be made in the context of visa facilitation with Eastern Partnership states.
In connection with the Washington Nuclear Security Summit and the Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) currently underway in New York, the European Union foreign ministers discussed nuclear issues. The foreign ministers’ discussion on Iran also focused on nuclear security. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that Iran has not started to co-operate in regards to the nuclear programme, which is why the agenda included a discussion on setting tougher sanctions. “We hope that discussions on the new UN Security Council resolution, with which we plan to strengthen sanctions against Iran, will progress smoothly and an agreement on new measures will be achieved as quickly as possible,” Paet asserted. “It is important to have as much international support as possible for the new Security Council resolution, including the support of the Persian Gulf Co-operation Council,” Paet elaborated.
While talking about the situation in Somalia, the European Union foreign ministers discussed problems related to the transfer and prosecution of pirates. The UN Security Council approved a resolution on the legal aspects of the fight against piracy in Somalia on 27 April, according to which the UN Secretary General will present a report within three months on opportunities to improve the system for prosecuting pirates.
During the General Affairs Council, the foreign ministers will discuss the agenda for the European Council taking place in June, which will focus on the new employment and economic growth strategy Europe 2020. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the Council agenda also includes climate issues and the European Union’s positions for both the G20 Toronto Summit and the UN Millennium Development Goals Conference in New York.
SPOKESPERSON' S OFFICE
European Union Foreign Ministers Confirm Positions for EU-Russia Summit