Estonia: Mediterranean Union Sets Example for European Union Co-operation with Eastern Neighbours
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet participated in the meeting of the Mediterranean Union foreign ministers that took place on Tuesday, 4 November in Marseille, France. The foreign policy leaders talked about the future of Mediterranean Union co-operation.
To advance the Middle East peace process and accelerate co-operation in the region, the ministers approved the greater involvement of the League of Arab States in Mediterranean Union co-operation. “The Arab League plays a vital role in advancing the Middle East peace process, and including the League in Mediterranean Union co-operation will strengthen partnership and help with ensuring stability,” said Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
According to the Estonian foreign minister, co-operation with states on the southern and eastern banks of the Mediterranean sets a good example for European Union co-operation with its neighbours to the east. “Positive developments in the co-operation between the European Union and its Mediterranean partners creates a good situation for implementing a similar model with the European Union’s eastern partners, especially Ukraine and Georgia, for their more rapid integration into European Union co-operation structures,” said Foreign Minister Paet.
The foreign ministers agreed to establish the Mediterranean Union Secretariat in Barcelona. The European Union’s partnership with the countries on the southern bank of the Mediterranean, which was established in Barcelona in 1995, was the foundation for the creation of the Mediterranean Union in the summer of this year.
The ministers also discussed the implementation of Mediterranean Union projects. At the Paris summit on 13 June 2008, it was agreed to initiate co-operation projects for reducing pollution in the Mediterranean Sea, developing sea traffic and land transport, using solar energy, protecting citizens in the case of a natural disaster, promoting higher education, and supporting small businesses.
The Mediterranean Union includes all European Union member states and countries along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Foreign Minister Paet also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Marseille yesterday. At the meeting, they discussed the status of Turkey’s accession negotiations with the European Union.