Today 9 December, at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu discussed relations with Africa and the state of human rights in the world with his EU counterparts. The new High Representative Josep Borrell chaired the meeting for the first time.
According to Reinsalu, the security and stability of the European Union are linked to Africa. To achieve practical results in stopping irregular migration to Europe, it is necessary to work towards agreements that would guarantee effective border controls and a functioning return system, and which would be connected to other areas of cooperation. “Estonia is committed to supporting the internal security of the Sahel states. We are supporting Mali in its fight against terrorism and only recently we increased our contribution to Operation Barkhane,” Minister Reinsalu said.
“Estonia can also definitely amplify the voice of the European Union at the UN Security Council, where many topics are linked to the security of Africa and where we will be heading the Sudan Sanctions Committee as an elected member,” he added.
Reinsalu also underscored that digital transformation was one way of providing broad support for the stability of African states and establishing business relations. The Foreign Minister highlighted digitalisation and e-governance as examples. There is great interest in Estonia’s experience and this should also play a role in the Africa strategy of the European Union that is currently being composed.
Ahead of tomorrow’s International Human Rights Day, the foreign ministers also discussed the situation of human rights in the world. Estonia is particularly concerned about restrictions on civil society and democracy online. According to the Estonian Foreign Minister, one such example is the recent “sovereign internet” law in Russia that gives law enforcement unprecedented control over internet traffic. The Foreign Minister also condemns the systematic violation of the human rights of the Crimean Tatars on the occupied Crimean peninsula.
Last night, Minister Reinsalu and his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues met with Josep Borrell to discuss the foreign policy priorities of the Baltic States and the continued importance of the European Union’s current policy towards Russia. This morning, the Foreign Minister attended a breakfast with his colleagues from Albania and North Macedonia, expressing support for quick progress in launching accession negotiations.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
+372 637 7627 / +372 5194 7045