President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said Russia has violated all international rules of peacetime with its annexation of Crimea and therefore, the European Union’s Eastern Partnership concept should be reconsidered.
Ilves, on a visit to Rome, was speaking at a panel of the annual meeting of the European Council of Foreign Relations, this time focusing on the challenges facing Europe, uudised.err.ee reported.
The president expressed concern over the anti-Western ideology dominating Russia and attacks on democratic rights like freedom of speech and the freedom to choose a partner regardless of their sex.
He highlighted the need for the EU to support democratic reforms in Georgia and Moldova.
The president also said the crisis in Ukraine could potentially produce an immigration problem, as the country borders four EU states, which is why action is needed now.
The panel included Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, former Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, head of the foreign policy unit of British Prime Minister David Cameron Jo Johnson, the German Bundestag’s representative of foreign relations Norbert Röttgen, and the opinion editor of the French Le Monde daily Sylvie Kauffmann.
The panel noted that Europe is currently facing three major challenges: geopolitical issues in the east and south (the conflict in the Middle East, a change in dynamics in Asia and the increase of China’s power), the economic crisis in the Eurozone and the rise of forces skeptical of the federalization of EU political power in the European elections.