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Sunday, 09.03.2014, 03:59
Estonia: EU Eastern Partners need attention even when EU's Southern neighborhood experience rapid changes
"Eastern Partnership is in our interest and requires the continued attention and support of the European Union," the Estonian foreign minister emphasized at a meeting of the European Union Eastern Partnership foreign ministers in Brussels, writes LETA.
"In Eastern Partnership countries we see progress in making reforms and integrating with the European Union, which deserves to be recognized, as well as troubling political developments. All this demonstrates that there is still much to be done," he stated.
The Eastern Partnership countries are Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Belarus.
"We are very pleased with the developments in Moldova and if they continue, at the next Eastern Partnership summit we’ll have a reason to move to the next level, the European Union perspective. It is essential that the countries making more progress are given more opportunities, so that the 'more for more' policy is implemented. Therefore we hope for progress in the Moldova visa dialogue," said Paet.
Paet feels that the Eastern Partners and their integration process also require more public attention.
"Greater visibility and the interest of the public are encouraging, so the European Union could think about how to make Eastern Partnership more visible through public diplomacy," he stated.
Paet said that in future efforts, greater attention should be paid to co-ordinating work between European Union member states and Eastern Partnership states and creating synergy.
"The European Union Eastern Partners are priority countries for Estonia's development co-operation and one way in which we support them is through the Center of Eastern Partnership, which focuses on increasing the administrative capacity of our Eastern Partners," Paet explained.
"It is also very important to move in the direction of visa facilitation and visa freedom with Eastern Partners, as well as making co-operation in politics and various sectors more effective," he added.