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Estonia Feels Naming European Union Special Representative for Human Rights is Necessary

12.03.2012

No. 66-E

At the meeting of the European Union foreign ministers in Copenhagen, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the European Union must keep human rights in mind when dealing with all types of foreign policy issues. “We feel it is important to strengthen the EU’s human rights policy within its common foreign policy,” said Paet.   

Paet stated that in order to accomplish this, Estonia supports the idea of creating the position of a European Union special representative for human rights. “We would prefer a special representative mandate that is as broad as possible in order to integrate the EU’s human rights policy more with other policies and increase the visibility of the EU’s human rights policy,” he said.

According to the Estonian foreign minister, when promoting human rights the EU must base its actions on the specific situation in each partner state. “Adhering to human rights standards is one of the essential criteria the European Union must consider when implementing its development co-operation and trade policy. This is important in both the European Union neighbourhood policy and in funding EU foreign aid in general,” he said. “For example, in allowing one-sided trade facilitation, we must consider whether the partner country has joined the major international human rights agreements and conventions,” the Estonian foreign minister added.

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