Today 9 June, Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets met with the Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris. The meeting focused on the bilateral relations of Estonia and France, and covered the upcoming NATO summit and topical European Union issues, including the security situation in Europe. The ministers signed an action plan for a strategic partnership between Estonia and France.
This year, Estonia and France are celebrating the centenary of diplomatic relations. “Good relations with France as one of the most influential countries in Europe and a permanent member of the UN Security Council are very important to us, also in view of the fact that France will hold the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2022,” the foreign minister said. “The relations of Estonia and France have become closer by each year, and cover a broad spectrum of areas by now, from defence cooperation to the digital economy, cybersecurity and research cooperation.”
“Touching on the upcoming NATO summit, I underlined the importance of transatlantic unity and the solidarity of Allies. We also discussed perspectives for a closer cooperation between NATO and the EU, and the process of drawing up the European Union’s Strategic Compass,” the foreign minister said. “Close cooperation remains a pillar of Estonian-French relations. Our countries have also made sure in the UN Security Council that the voice of Europe on the global forum of diplomacy is strong and united, thus contributing to the mitigation and prevention of conflicts.“
The meeting also covered the situation in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. “The continued instability in the region interferes with peaceful development and cooperation. All this has a negative impact on security in Europe in general. I am glad that we were able to raise the issue of Belarus with France at the UN Security Council on 26 May,” the foreign minister said. “It is also very important to continue supporting the countries in the region in enacting democratic and rule of law reforms, and keep the doors of organisations upholding these values open.“
The foreign minister thanked her French colleague for France’s consistent contribution to Baltic Air Policing and NATO’’s enhanced Forward Presence. She also noted the importance of the counterterrorism operation Barkhane led by France for supporting the stability of countries in the Sahel region and reducing security risks, and reaffirmed Estonia’s readiness to continue participating in joint military missions.
The ministers signed a bilateral strategic partnership action plan between Estonia and France for the period 2021-2025. The action plan focuses on developing the relations of Estonia and France in areas that were highlighted in the strategic partnership declaration signed by head of government in autumn 2020: cooperation in defence and security, digital and cyber affairs, education, and economy and closer cultural relations are equally important.
The foreign minister also had a first meeting with the new Secretary-General of the OECD Mathias Cormann, and they affirmed their shared interest in close cooperation and contribution to areas that support the development of the global economy.
Photos (Judith Litvine / MEAE)