Vilnius, 29 November 2013 - Prime Minister Ansip stated today at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius that the Eastern Partnership Policy has proven its effectiveness and the progress made over the last two years has been notable.
“The Eastern Partnership is a successful policy”, said Ansip. “The principle of “more for more” has worked, and we must also continue according to this position in the future. “
Ansip expressed approval that association agreements with Moldova and Georgia were initialled in Vilnius, and added that the agreements with any other partner countries must definitely remain within the working plan of the Eastern Partnership.
“Association Agreements, including extensive free trade agreements, are an important milestone in the development of all-encompassing cooperation between Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union “These agreements are beneficial for both parties.“
According to Ansip, the Ukrainian Government’s recent announcement that they would not be signing the association agreement in Vilnius was a source of disappointment for the European Union. The Prime Minister noted that several years of significant work took place in the name of the agreement.
“Even though each country is free to make its own decisions, we are convinced that the association agreement, including the creation of all-encompassing free trade with the European Union, is of benefit to the people of Ukraine”, said Ansip. “Accession to the world’s most powerful market provides Ukraine with the potential to modernise their economy and raise their level of prosperity. “
The Prime Minister added that the door to the European Union will remain open to Ukraine, and the Ukrainian people themselves must make their own decision.
Ansip also supported the European Commission’s recommendation to add Moldova to the list of visa-free countries. He called on other European Union Member States to take a decision on establishing visa-free travel with Moldova as soon as possible.
“Visa-free travel directly affects the lives of many people”, said Ansip. “The European Union’s values spread best through contact between people.”
Andrus Ansip also noted that a strong and supportive partnership has also always been a priority of Estonia’s foreign policy.
“Our Eastern Partners are a part of Europe”, said Ansip. “We have a common future. Openness and close cooperation are beneficial for all of Europe – it makes us strong.”
As a symbolic example of cooperation, Ansip cited the film “Tangerines”, which was made in cooperation between Estonia and Georgia, and the DVD of which the Estonian Prime Minister and Georgian President presented together as a gift to those European Union leaders who took part in the summit.
“The film “Tangerines” serves as a backdrop for what we have talked about here today”, said Ansip. “The film helps us to understand why things don’t always develop as easily as we would like them to. At the same time it also conveys a message of hope, that even complicated problems can be solved and differences in opinion and opposition can be overcome.“
In addition to the initialled association agreements with Moldova and Georgia, a visa facilitation and readmission agreement was concluded with Azerbaijan, along with an agreement regarding the participation of Georgia in European Union’s crisis management operations.
During the European Union’s Eastern Partnership Summit, Prime Minister Ansip met bilaterally with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelašvili and Azerbaijani President Ilham Alijev.
Photos of the meeting at http://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/pildialbum#2595-1