Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
19. February 2008
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet participated in a session of the European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) in Brussels on Monday, 18 February. In the general affairs section, the EU foreign ministers approved the agenda for the European Council being held in March, and in the external relations session, the main topics of discussion were issues related to the European Neighbourhood Policy.
The foreign policy leaders of the European Union discussed the implementation and achievements of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) with Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that most ENP nations still require a lot of support in carrying out political, social, and economic reforms. “We support horizontal discussions between the Commission and member states that would improve co-operation with our ENP partner countries,” said Paet. “First and foremost, it is crucial to have extensive co-operation in the areas of economy and trade, visa facilitation negotiations, and in resolving regional conflicts in the close neighbourhood of the EU,” the foreign minister emphasised. According to Urmas Paet, the ENP nations include rapidly changing regions and conditions, and therefore co-operation formats should be adaptable.
In the general affairs session, the foreign ministers approved the agenda for the European Council being held in March. The spring Council will focus on three topics: the launching of the new cycle of the Lisbon strategy, the stability of financial markets, and integrated climate and energy policy. Foreign Minister Paet stated that Estonia is also interested in covering aspects of energy security and the issue of control over electricity imported from third countries.
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