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Peters holds EU meeting with Finnish counterpart

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

26 September 2006
Media statement

Peters holds EU meeting with Finnish counterpart

Foreign Minister Winston Peters has held constructive discussions with his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja in Helsinki overnight.

Finland currently holds the presidency of the European Union. The talks maintained the practice of New Zealand meeting on a six-monthly basis with the EU Presidency to exchange views on international and EU-NZ matters.

“Given the EU’s central role in world affairs, and the importance of the EU as a bilateral partner, it is vital that we keep in close touch,” Mr Peters said.

"We discussed a broad range of issues today, including the negotiations currently under way to secure acceptable terms for New Zealand’s continued butter access to the EU.

"I took the opportunity to emphasise the need for us to be left no worse off by the implementation of the European Court of Justice's ruling on our imports."

Mr Peters said other issues discussed were the Middle East Peace process, Afghanistan, and developments in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the South Pacific, North Asia, and South East Asia.

"Both parties also committed themselves to updating the EU/New Zealand Action Plan by mid 2007. The Action Plan will cover a commitment to work together further in the Pacific; increasing economic cooperation; further exchanges in Science and Technology, and environmental discussions.

“This visit has also provided an excellent opportunity to get alongside the leaders of Finland, a country which leads the way in competitiveness and innovation, and which also shares many of the same values as New Zealand,” Mr Peters said.

Today Mr Peters is due to meet President Tarja Halonen, and the Chair of the Finnish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee. He has also been invited to visit the Saami Parliament in Lapland on Wednesday.


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