Kaljurand at NB8 meeting: Nordic-Baltic cooperation increasingly more important
Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand (independent) stressed at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Baltic and Nordic countries on Friday that the importance of Baltic and Nordic cooperation in foreign policy as well as other issues was only increasing.
Regional security, developments in the Ukraine conflict, cooperation in the UN, and the situation in the southern neighborhood of the EU were discussed at the meeting. Kaljurand also gave an overview of her recent visit to Turkey.
Talking about the Ukraine conflict the ministers expressed their worries over the events that took place in Crimea at the beginning of August, as they can be seen as Russia’s next attempt to destabilize Ukraine.
“Russia's provocative statements regarding the events in Crimea were not surprising,” Kaljurand was quoted saying. “But it is clear that Ukraine’s policy of not recognizing the occupation of Crimea is and will be the long-term policy of Estonia and the EU,” she stressed. The ministers also agreed that no progress can be seen regarding the Minsk agreements.
Kaljurand also stressed that it was important to solve the issue of visa freedom with Ukraine. “Ukraine has met all the necessary requirements regarding the issue of visa freedom, and now the European Union has to fulfill its promise,” she said.
Kaljurand confirmed Estonia's continued support to Turkey’s approximation to the EU. “Turkey is an important partner for Europe in many important foreign policy issues and for solving several problems, therefore it is important to communicate and keep Turkey moving toward Europe,” she said, adding that Estonia as the chair of the Council of Europe could be a decisive voice here.
The NB8 are a cooperation format that includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Meetings and consultations in this format take place regularly at the level of prime ministers, MPs, ministers, state secretaries, and political directors as well as at the expert level.