As things stand, Turkey is an EU candidate country and the call made by the two leading candidates in Germany’s upcoming federal election to end EU accession talks, is a matter that has to be discussed by the European Union, said Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion Carmelo Abela. Addressing the press at a two-day informal EU Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting in Tallinn, he added that irrespectively of the outcome of such discussions, Turkey will remain a key partner of the EU. “We should have excellent relations with our partners, so we definitely need to continue working with Turkey,” he remarked.
The Foreign Ministers’ meeting was held on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th September 2017 in the Estonian capital as Estonia is the current holder of the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and hosted by Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sven Mikser.
An agreement was reached to support further measures by the United Nations’ Security Council in terms of economic restrictions on North Korea to put pressure on Pyongyang following its latest ballistic missile and nuclear tests. The decision was also taken for the EU to issue its own, autonomous sanctions if it is deemed necessary for the safeguarding of its security. The Ministers also agreed on the need for the Middle East Peace Process to be revived and to include all stakeholders.
The Foreign Affairs Ministers also held a joint working lunch with the bloc’s Defence Ministers to discuss the implementation of the EU security and defence package, a comprehensive set of measures aimed at boosting the security of the Union and its citizens.
A session was also held with the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the EU’s candidate countries – Albania, FYROM, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey – to discuss ways in which the two sides can work together to prevent and counter radicalisation and violent extremism. This was followed by a working lunch, organised by the Estonian Presidency, with representatives of the countries forming the Eastern Partnership, a joint initiative involving the EU, its Member States and six Eastern European partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. This event served as an opportunity to discuss preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit that will be held in Brussels in November.
On the margins of the plenary Ministerial sessions, Minister Abela held a bilateral meeting with Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Witold Waszczykowski. They discussed ways to further strengthen the longstanding diplomatic relations between Poland and Malta while enhancing bilateral trade ties.
Link to footage of Minister Carmelo Abela’s comment to the Press: https://vimeo.com/232929787