Estonian President Alar Karis said at a meeting with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkevics and Lithuanian colleague Gitanas Nauseda in Tallinn on Monday that the European Union must change through reform and find a solution for the accession negotiations of Ukraine and Moldova.
Estonian president at meeting with Baltic counterparts: EU must change through reform
«We talked about democracy and how young people can better influence our future policies. Also, about the importance of human rights and the freedom to choose your destiny. Freedom to choose one's own destiny is something we wish to every individual and state,» Karis said.
«Talking about shaping the future, it is a pivotal moment. The decisions we shall make in Brussels this week, at the upcoming European Council, will be closely observed in every Ukrainian household. And not only in Ukraine, but also in Moldova and in all nations with strong EU aspiration. Together, we are hoping to move forward in fulfilling their European dream,» the head of state said.
«Decisions we shall make will send a global signal. It is our moment to show that the EU is determined and strong, preparing to grow stronger. It is our chance to make a strategic investment into European peace, security and prosperity. We must use this momentum wisely and proceed with the EU's most successful policy -- the enlargement,» Karis added.
«There is a strong unity behind this and I call not to shake this unity with groundless concerns. Yes, indeed, the EU must also change to be ready for the enlargement but we can do both simultaneously. Reform our union and find solution to every concern while starting the EU accession talk with the potential new member states, foremost Ukraine and Moldova,» he said.
«For those who try to drag us to pessimism and demand more analyses, I say: we have been effective. Our policy to help Ukraine in all fields has been successful. Ukraine is a well-functioning independent state making the necessary reforms, controlling a large part of its territory and determined to take back the rest. Therefore, our successful policy needs to be reinforced and continued,» the president said.
The head of state stressed that the Baltic states are NATO's first line of defense.
«That’s why we are leading by example and showing NATO what needs to be done in terms of defense readiness, defense investments and deterrence. Militarily and politically, we are one and the same region, and the more in sync our national policies and steps are, the stronger we are in our own defense and within NATO. I have assured my colleagues today that Estonia stands ready to help our neighbors in solidarity during all possible crises, be it border security, undersea infrastructure or even military threat,» Karis said.
«Estonia has been leading the Baltic cooperation and today's meeting marks the end of our many meetings during this year. I would like to express my gratitude to all our colleagues at different levels to push our cooperation forward in all fields. Very close to my heart has been always the infrastructure connections, such as Rail Baltic, but also the common electricity grid,» he added.
After the meeting that took place at the Pelgulinn State Gymnasium in Tallinn, the three Baltic presidents headed on a working lunch, where they will discuss the most critical challenges facing the three nations today.
«But we always also look forward to the future as we are well aware that if we plan things together, we achieve more. It has proven to be so in our defense cooperation, border protection and other fields,» Karis said.