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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Relations Between European Union and Georgia Must Reach New Level

12.07.2013

Nr 237-E


At his meeting in Batum with Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Georgia is a very important partner of the European Union and NATO.

“Estonia would like to take the European Union’s relations with Georgia to a new level. We would like for association agreements including a free trade agreement to be initialled with Georgia, Moldova and Armenia and for such as agreement to be concluded with Ukraine,” said Foreign Minister Paet.

“For us it is important that all the agreements concluded with Eastern Partners are as liberal as possible, which would allow the economies of the countries room to grow,” Paet stated. It is also essential to move forward rapidly with the visa facilitation process.

The foreign ministers also discussed Georgia’s domestic political developments prior to the upcoming presidential elections. Paet said that it is vital that politics and justice be clearly separated.

Paet also noted that Estonia feels that the work of the European Union monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM) is essential. “Estonia is participating in the European monitoring mission with three experts and plans to send one more expert,” he added.

In talking about bilateral relations, foreign ministers Paet and Panjikidze noted that Estonia and Georgia have very close communication. “We also have very active cultural co-operation. Opera theatres from Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batum will participate in the Saaremaa Opera Days taking place in Estonia at the end of July,” Paet said. Over 350 performers from Georgia will be participating. Estonia also plans to conclude a memorandum for cultural co-operation with Georgia.

Estonia and Georgia would like to intensify bilateral relations by concluding agreements in the areas of highway transport, tourism co-operation, and social security. “Concluding an agreement for the protection of investments would help to increase economic contacts and investments,” Foreign Minister Paet added.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Georgia is one of Estonia’s priority partners for development co-operation and our support for projects in the country increases each year. In 2012 the Foreign Ministry supported 14 projects in Georgia. “With Estonia’s support, Georgia has carried out projects that have helped to develop and promote civil society, vocational and higher education, entrepreneurship, and good administrative practice,” Paet stated. Foreign Minister Paet expressed his satisfaction that Georgia has used the opportunities offered by the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership in its reform process.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/estonian-foreign-ministry/9265211257/

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