Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet met with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Paris.
Relations between Estonia and France, the European Neighbourhood Policy, updating security strategies, the Treaty of Lisbon, and EU-NATO relations were discussed.
In talking about the Treaty of Lisbon, both sides agreed that it is an important step in the development of the European Union, and that the ratification of the treaty should begin as soon as possible. “We hope that all the member states will ratify the treaty within the next year, so that it can come into effect in 2009,” said Paet. According to the foreign ministers, both Estonia and France plan to finish ratifying the treaty in the spring.
Paet and Kouchner both consider it essential to continue the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy. “The Neighbourhood Policy should treat eastern and southern nations equally, but within its framework, relating to each country on an individual basis should also be possible,” said Paet. The French foreign minister gave an overview of cooperation with Mediterranean nations and of future plans.
When speaking about European security strategy, the ministers noted that it is important to consider cooperation opportunities with NATO when updating the strategy. Urmas Paet and Bernard Kouchner also discussed matters related to NATO enlargement. “We sincerely hope that during the next NATO summit in Bucharest, we can extend invitations to join NATO to the candidate nations that are prepared to accede,” said Paet.
Foreign Ministers Paet and Kouchner both acknowledged that political and cultural relations between Estonia and France are very good, but that there is certainly room to expand cooperation at the grassroots level. “More visits, as well as consultations between the foreign ministries, would give an opportunity to refresh ties,” said Paet. The Estonian foreign minister added that Estonian culture days will be taking place in France in 2010, which will once again be a good opportunity to intensify ties.
Foreign Minister Paet invited his French colleague to come visit Estonia.