Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) on Wednesday attended a video meeting of the foreign ministers of the Nordic-Baltic cooperation format (NB8) and the Visegrad group (V4), where he stressed in his statement that Eastern Partnership countries need the support of the European Union.
At the meeting, the NB8 and V4 ministers discussed the COVID-19 crisis and its geopolitical impact, as well as current issues in the EU and international cooperation, according to a ministry press release.
The ministers agreed that the crisis has once again demonstrated the importance of cooperation and information exchange, particularly when planning exit strategies.
On the topic of EU issues, they underlined the need to conclude negotiations on the multiannual financial framework (MFF), including the recovery instrument, while taking the objective of climate neutrality into account. Reinsalu highlighted infrastructure projects of importance to Estonia, including Rail Baltic and the synchronization of the Baltic countries' power grids with the Continental European grid, as well as the importance of the cohesion policy, common agricultural policy and the digital agenda of the EU.
In his statement, Reinsalu emphasized that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eastern Partnership countries need the support of the EU.
"In the current situation, it is even more important to focus on boosting the resilience and strategic communication capabilities of our partner countries," he said. "By supporting the Eastern Partnership countries in overcoming the coronavirus crisis, we should focus more on using digital solutions and coordinated activities to achieve the best results."
According to the Estonian minister, lasting international security, stability and peace require genuine and continuous adherence to international law and norms, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.
"At the meeting, we reaffirmed our support for the Eastern Partnership countries, including the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and Ukraine," he said. "We must implement substantial reforms to increase the stability and resilience of Eastern Partnership countries."
The foreign ministers also discussed organizing a high-level summit this June.
"Regular high-level dialogue is important to keep the Eastern Partnership countries up to date with the reforms of the EU," Reinsalu said. "However, if the Eastern Partnership summit cannot be held physically this year, it should take place in early 2021."
At the meeting, Estonia and the Czech Republic as the respective current coordinators of the NB8 and V4 cooperation formats also adopted a joint statement, which can be read in full here.
The NB8 includes Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The V4 comprises Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Editor: Aili Vahtla