Ilves: EU has to be a demanding partner for neighbours who have chosen the European way

"The European Union must continue to be an encouraging and trusting yet demanding partner for its closest neighbours that have chosen the European way," said Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at his meeting with the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Parliament Ruprecht Polenz.

"A free and democratic Ukraine will make the whole of Europe stronger," told President Ilves. "We are ready to support Ukraine – just like Georgia and Moldova – in their efforts to reach out to Europe as much as we can; however, an expression by Ukraine of democratic aspirations and a belief in European values serve as pre-requisites to this end."

The Estonian Head of State and the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Parliament admitted that if the criteria are met the door of the European Union would remain open for Eastern Partnership countries.

When speaking about the future of the European Union, President Ilves said: "For further integration of today's Europe, we need to focus on spheres that require co-operation in strengthening the euro area and for ensuring its sustainability. A strong and reliable euro area will make the entire European Union more successful and competitive."

The Estonian Head of State emphasised the importance of all the 27 member states taking part in the discussions and debates about the future of Europe. "No party will be left out unless they choose to do so themselves – which would literally meaning handing in one's notice," he said.

According to President Ilves, the crisis in the euro area has brought those European Union member states with responsible financial and economic policies closer, not through their association with the euro but through their responsibility to their countries and Europe. Estonia and Germany have taken the same side in this regard, emphasised the Estonian Head of State.

"We do not need a theoretical argument on which is better: austerity or growth. We need strengthening of the internal market to boost trade, which is essential for every one of us," President Ilves told.