Estonian, Latvian presidents meet on Saaremaa

The state presidents of Estonia and Latvia took a break from their customary meetings in either Tallinn or Rīga June 25 by meeting instead on the pretty Estonian island of Saaremaa ('Sāmsala' in Latvian).

Kuressaare, the isand's main city, was chosen by presidents to remind residents of the Baltic countries that they can travel to and enjoy their summer in any of the three countries – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Topics under discussion included regional cooperation and security, COVID-19 containment experiences and post-coronavirus challenges.

On COVID-19, both presidents took pride in the relative success of their countries in containing the virus and the cross-border cooperation that created the so-called "Baltic bubble" free travel zone at a time when many other countries were still introducing travel restrictions.

"All three Baltic States, compared to the rest of the world, have successfully managed the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, because their governments have chosen the right approach -- listening to the instructions of epidemiologists and a timely, precautionary strategy," said President Levits, praising the people of the Baltic states for an "exemplary" approach that saw them quickly change their daily habits.

Meanwhile President Kaljulaid highlighted the co-operation of major regional companies such as airBaltic and Tallink in helping to quickly and efficiently repatriate Baltic citizens at the start of the coronavirus crisis. 

"This serves as confirmation that even small economies, when joining forces, can cope with great difficulties," said President Kaljulaid.

After the official welcoming ceremony on Kuressaare Main Square and discussions followed by a press conference, the presidents planted trees in Kuressaare Town Park and visited the Kaali Meteorite Crater Field.

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