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Estonia Would Like to Intensify Nordic-Baltic Co-operation

21.02.2013

No 60-E

In his annual address to the Riigikogu on Estonia’s foreign policy, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia would like to make co-operation among the Nordic and Baltic countries even more active. “Next year Estonia will chair Baltic co-operation, co-ordinate the work of the NB8, and lead the Council of the Baltic Sea States. We will have a clear chance to encourage closer ties among the Nordic and Baltic countries,” Paet stated.

Fore Minister Urmas Paet said that as the most integrated country in the region, Estonia’s goal is to strengthen the entire region. “We support Latvia and Lithuania’s accession to the euro zone and the OECD. It is in the interests of Estonia as well as Finland, Latvia and Lithuania that Sweden and Denmark, which do not belong to the euro zone, do not to drift away from the European Union’s core,” he said.

The foreign minister also noted that Poland and Germany, as key countries in the Baltic Sea region, should be more visible. “Estonia would like for both Poland and Germany to see themselves more as Baltic Sea region states,” Paet said. The foreign minister added that he encourages Germany to take an even greater leadership role among the “rational Nordic economies”. As with Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia also supports Poland’s accession to the euro.

In his speech the foreign minister also emphasised that for the sake of the development of the Nordic region, it is essential to create fast and modern transportation connections with Western Europe. “We must actively develop the regional infrastructure,” said Paet, who added that  15% of the world’s maritime transport takes place in the Baltic Sea region. “Proper railway connections with the rest of Europe would improve opportunities for travel and increase the region’s competitiveness. The Rail Baltic project serves this goal, and we have already reached the stage of making actual preparations,” stated the foreign minister.

Paet said that the creation of energy connections is equally important. “This goal is supported by a functioning single market and equal conditions for energy trade with third countries,” said the foreign minister. Paet noted that this year will bring clarity regarding the regional liquefied natural gas terminal. The completion of Estlink-2 will also bring greater stability in the price of electricity. The NordBalt underwater cable between Lithuania and Sweden is also being built, as are the Lit-Pol-Link from Lithuania to Poland and a new Estonia-Latvia electrical connection. “In this was we will create a Baltic Sea electrical circle. Hopefully we will soon be fully integrated with the entire European energy market and shake off our energy island status,” said Paet.

However, the foreign minister also mentioned in his speech that we must work to make sure that what is done in the European Union supports our region’s past success and future goals. “Estonia has indeed re-integrated into Europe, but this doesn’t mean that our attention can now drift from Europe to other topics,” stated Paet. The foreign minister said that our goal was never just to join. “More important than the fact of EU membership is what we do in Europe. What’s important is how we stand for the interests and rights of our people. But also the interests of all of Europe,” he emphasised.

Full text of the address: http://www.vm.ee/?q=en/node/16553

SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE
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press@mfa.ee
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