Stenbock House, 8 February 2019 – today, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met with Krišjānis Kariņš, Prime Minister of Latvia, for whom this was the first foreign visit during his term of office. The prime ministers discussed relations between Estonia and Latvia and joint issues in the context of the European Union: the United Kingdom leaving the EU, the next long-term budget of the union, joint energy and infrastructure projects, and security matters.
According to Prime Minister Ratas, relations between Estonia and Latvia are very good and keep improving. “Estonia and Latvia are very close friends; our common history has brought us together and cooperation in all areas has strengthened this bond. The joint sitting held in 2018 serves as good example of this. Latvia is an important investment destination and trading partner for our companies.”
Karinš and Ratas also discussed security issues. “I am pleased that cooperation on security and defence matters between Estonia and Latvia has strengthened over years. Our security is improved by the strong transatlantic communication and cooperation between NATO and the European Union. The defence spending of all three Baltic countries has been increased to two percent of the GDP in 2018 putting us in the front row with our allies in NATO.”
The two states also share similar interests in the European Union. “Estonia and Latvia have the same goals in terms of the next EU budget for 2021–2027: faster harmonisation of direct agricultural support and a more gradual decrease in structural funds from the EU,” Ratas said.
The prime minister confirmed that speaking with one voice is crucial to ensure that the Connecting Europe Facility would fully support the further development of the Rail Baltica project. I am very pleased that Finland has also decided to join the Rail Baltica project at the end of last week,” the prime minister said. The prime ministers also addressed the synchronisation of power networks with continental Europe, which is going ahead as planned and should be completed by 2025.
Photos (Government Communication Unit): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nyxo11ac596bvm5/AAAJ261l5PBiCbHlDuBh-QQda?dl=0