The Eastern Partnership, a joint initiative of the European Union and its six neighbouring states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, must strive to be even more ambitious during the coming decade, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said in his opening remarks at the 6th Annual Tallinn Conference on the Eastern Partnership on Friday.
According to Mr Ratas, cooperation with the EU's six eastern neighbours is an important foreign policy prioriy for Estonia, spokespeople for the government said.
"Cooperation with our eastern partners, which is based on common values and mutual interests, has helped achieve a lot," he said. "It has helped to improve people's lives in those states — it has created new jobs, developed infrastructure, expanded young people's learning opportunities."
In his speech, Mr Ratas highlighted the importance of dedicated cooperation, and considered it necessay for Eastern Partnership countries to become even more ambitious over the next ten years.
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus are important partners for the EU, he stressed.
"As part of the framework for development, we will share with these countries our experience with establishing e-governance, implementing administrative reforms, strengthening civil society, and developing media skills," the prime minister said, encouraging EU's eastern partners to continue implementing reforms and setting new cooperation objectives for the next decade.
Mr Ratas also met with Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan to discuss bilateral Estonian-Armenian relations as well as cooperation with the EU. Speaking to the Armenian minister, Mr Ratas reaffirmed Estonia's preparedness to support and assist Armenia in its integration with the EU.
Organised by the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership (ECEAP) in cooperation with Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission Representation in Tallinn, the 6th Annual Tallinn Conference on the Eastern Partnership marks the 10th anniversary of the joint initiative between the EU, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Editor: Aili Vahtla