Tuomioja: Broad cooperation between the EU and New Zealand
Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja stated that New Zealand is an important partner for the European Union, and that there is extensive cooperation between the two, for instance, in the fields of science, the economy and peacekeeping. Winston Peters, Foreign Minister of New Zealand, attended the EU–New Zealand Meeting of Foreign Ministers on 25th September; the ministerial meeting was held in the established Troika composition, which includes the EU Presidency, the Secretariat of the Council of the EU and the European Commission.
The discussions touched upon many themes of the partnership between the EU and New Zealand, as well as addressing topical issues such as the Middle East and Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Peters stressed the importance of cooperation with the EU. He considered that the weight of the Asia-Pacific region will increase in future, also from the perspective of the European Union. In his view, the scope of cooperation includes fundamental themes such as human rights, but also more concrete issues; for instance, fair access to the EU butter market. Representing the European Commission, Director Richard Wright, DG External Relations, stated that through cooperation, the EU strives to promote the stability of Asian and Pacific countries, their good governance and common values.
Foreign Minister Peters said that in conjunction with his visit to Finland he would also travel to Lapland, to learn more about the activities of the Saami Parliament. The rights of indigenous peoples, and their representation within government at the national level, are issues of fundamental importance to the Government of New Zealand, he continued. The Saami are the EU’s northernmost indigenous people, and they are dispersed across several different states.