Estonia's Foreign Minister Sven Mikser represented the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union at a meeting of the Visegrad countries and Eastern Partnership states in Budapest on 31 August, where he stressed the importance of EU Neighbourhood topics and gave an overview of preparations for this autumn’s Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels.
Foreign Minister Mikser reaffirmed that the Eastern Partnership was a definite priority for the Estonian Presidency. “It’s a very valuable format which promotes dialogue and cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries,” he said. Minister Mikser said that besides the current crises – migration, international conflicts and radicalism – we have to reserve a permanent place on the agenda for developments to the east of the EU’s external borders. “We can’t forget that a stable neighbourhood is in the interests of the European Union’s own stability and security,” Minister Mikser said.
Foreign Minister Mikser also provided an overview of preparations for the Eastern Partnership summit, which takes place in November in Brussels. “We are expecting a strong message from the summit, one that will emphasise our friendship, cooperation, and specific future steps.” Minister Mikser said it was important to set ambitious goals to buoy Eastern partners’ enthusiasm for reforming their countries and societies.
“Naturally, we have to take into account that each of the partners is unique and that they have different desires and ambitions with regard to integrating with the EU,” he said. “We must take a personalised approach to each partner country but ensure that the partnership will meet the expectations of both the partners themselves and the EU member states,” he added.
Foreign Minister Mikser also emphasised the digital dimension in cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries and briefed meeting participants on additional events related to Eastern Partnership taking place during the Estonian Presidency.