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The EU Foreign Ministers’ main focus in Luxembourg was Eastern Partnership and migration

08.09.2015

At the European Union Foreign Ministers' informal meeting in Luxembourg yesterday and today, Foreign Minister Kaljurand discussed relations with her counterparts following the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga, as well as relations with Russia, the topic of migration, and issues related to the Middle East peace process.

On the topic of Eastern Partnership, Foreign Minister Kaljurand emphasized that the European Union must not overlook Eastern Partnership countries in the current complex security situation. “The Eastern Partnership must continue to be an important part of European Union policy and we must continue to support those, who have made an effort to achieve a European perspective,” the Foreign Minister said. As an example, the Foreign Minister highlighted Georgia's progress in implementing reforms and expressed hope, that Georgia will meet the technical conditions required for visa free travel before this year is through. Regarding Moldova, the Foreign Minister mentioned the importance of the fight against corruption and the need to modernize judicial authorities. The Foreign Minister also added that Georgia and Moldova are Estonia's development cooperation priority countries, which Estonia can continue to support in sharing its reform experience. The EU Foreign Ministers also jointly welcomed the decision to release six Belarusian political prisoners and expressed hope that it will create preconditions for the improvement of relations between Belarus and the European Union.

With regards to Russia, the Foreign Ministers emphasized the need for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. “What was agreed to in Minsk is the basis for finding a settlement to the conflict, yet so far Russia has only continued its aggressive and destabilizing behaviour with regard to Ukraine," Kaljurand said, and added that the European Union must continue with sanctions until all the requirements stipulated in the Minsk agreements are fulfilled. "If necessary, we must be ready to take additional measures against Russia."

Foreign Minister Kaljurand thanked her EU colleagues for their support in raising the Eston Kohver issue both internationally and in bilateral relations with Russia. On September 5 it will be a year since Eston Kohver, a citizen of the European Union, was abducted from the territory of the European Union. "This is an unacceptable violation of international law and human rights. With the support of our partners and allies, we will continue to demand the release of Eston Kohver from Russia until he is safely returned to his family," Minister Kaljurand stressed.

On the second day, the Foreign Ministers' focus was on the deepening migration crisis in Europe. It was unanimously recognized that there is no quick solution to the crisis. The refugees already in Europe, as well as the root causes of the migration crisis, must be dealt with simultaneously. "The contribution made by European Union countries is not simply measured in the number of refugees received. We are also dealing with the situation in crisis areas and in fighting against illegal immigration," Kaljurand said. "Estonia will continue to contribute to the work of Frontex, the EU external border agency, and we hope for the rapid launch of the second phase of the naval operation EUNAVFOR-MED on the Mediterranean," she added.

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