Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) met with High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Wednesday in order to discuss current key foreign policy issues, including cooperation with African countries to solve the migration crisis, EU-Turkey relations and the security situation in the European neighborhood.
"One of the most important topics for the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU is solving the migration crisis in cooperation with African countries," Ratas said according to a government press release. "Only by acting together can we solve the root causes of the migration crisis, such as poverty, unemployment and violence, which force people to undertake the life-threatening journey to Europe."
According to the prime minister, there are no quick and simple solutions to this matter, but this did not mean that Estonia would give up trying to achieve solidarity. "In recent months, Estonian representatives have visited African countries several times, and have had several meetings with representatives of hotspot Mediterranean countries," he highlighted.
Ratas and Mogherini also discussed cooperation between the EU and NATO, progress in implementing the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), issues pertaining to the Posting of Workers Directive as well as issues related to EU CYBRID 2017, the first cyber defense exercise for EU defense ministers, which is being held in Tallinn on Thursday.
Estonia believes it is also important to keep the EU's Eastern Partnership (EaP) in political focus, as well as to find opportunities for cooperation that would considerably improve the welfare of the people of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
"I am glad that Ukraine recently secured visa freedom with the EU," Ratas noted. "This is one example of the Eastern Partnership's success stories. We look forward to a content-rich Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels in November, where we can continue our progress just as ambitiously."
Regarding Zapad, the upcoming large-scale joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise, Ratas said that an increase in military activity was to be expected in the region. He also noted that Estonia and its allies were monitoring the situation closely, remaining calm and confident, but alert.
Mogherini will chair the informal meetings for EU defense and foreign affairs ministers being held in Tallinn this week.
Editor: Aili Vahtla