Andrus Ansip met the Moroccan and Egyptian heads of Government

28.11.2005 | 12:51

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Barcelona, 28 November 2005 — Today, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met the Moroccan head of Government Driss Jettou and Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazef at the summit organised between the European Union and Mediterranean countries.

Mostly economic issues were discussed at the meetings held with the Moroccan and Egyptian Prime Ministers. Although Estonia’s trade with both countries is relatively modest, there are several areas that are of interest to both parties.

Moroccan Prime Minister Driss Jettou inquired about the Estonian oil shale industry at the meeting. According to Jettou, Morocco has considerable oil shale supplies and Estonia’s experience in transforming that fuel into electricity and chemical products is of great interest. Another promising area in the Estonian–Moroccan relationships is tourism which has been rapidly developing over the past few years.

The head of the Egyptian Government Ahmed Nazef expressed his delight that new countries, Estonia among them, have acceded to the Barcelona process, joining the European Union and Mediterranean countries. Nazef said that Egypt had undertaken several important reforms and taxation policy changes; concerning the latter, Egypt was also interested in Estonia’s experience.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was of the opinion that better use should be made of the opportunities opened up by Egypt’s association agreement with the European Union. “Egypt is the biggest economy on the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and the association agreement with the EU provides very good grounds for cooperation. The political framework has been established; now it is up to the entrepreneurs of our countries to take advantage of it,” said Ansip.

Relations with Egypt should also be fostered by the opening of an Estonian embassy in Cairo in the years to come, as planned by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Andrus Ansip, Estonia’s security and welfare does not start from the borders of our country but from much farther.

“Estonia’s foreign policy must contribute to the strength and unity of the European Union. Due to its geographical location, Estonia mostly focuses on cooperation with the eastern neighbours of the European Union, but also actively supports the development of relationships with the southern neighbours. Morocco and Egypt are important partners for the European Union, and their successful development as well as that of other Mediterranean countries ensures stability for Europe,” said Ansip.

According to the Prime Minister, it is important for Estonia to also participate actively in the political issues of the regions that are geographically farthest away from us. “As we are familiar with their developments, we may assume that these countries wish to express their opinions in issues that are important for Estonia,” said Andrus Ansip.

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