Estonian and Latvian parliamentary speakers meet in Tallinn

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On November 22, President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas met with Speaker of the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia Edvards Smiltēns, who is in Estonia on his first official visit abroad.

Strengthening of defence cooperation and digital cooperation was discussed at the meeting.

Ratas said at the meeting that the relations between Estonia and Latvia were excellent, and their cooperation was successful also in the Baltic Assembly, where Estonia will take over the Presidency from Latvia in 2023. During its Presidency of the BA, Estonia will focus on strengthening the security of the Baltic States and continuing support to Ukraine.

Ratas pointed out that it was important to continue close defence cooperation with Latvia, and also to move on with joint digital solutions, like the introduction of digital prescriptions. “Extending the use of digital prescriptions would allow using prescriptions issued in Estonia to buy medicines from Latvian pharmacies, and vice versa. This would be of help for many people moving between Estonia and Latvia,” he said.

Regional transport connections, including the construction of Rail Baltica, and synchronisation of power grids with Central Europe were also discussed at the meeting.

Ratas and Smiltēns emphasised their continuing support for Ukraine that needs every possible support and assistance to win the war. Ratas pointed out that it was also important to help Ukraine in post-war reconstruction.

Discussing the current geopolitical situation and security challenges, Smiltēns said that a long-term confrontation with Russia should be expected, with Latvia and Estonia completely renouncing cooperation with the aggressor and reorienting both their economies and education systems.

"I see it as a new iron curtain, but this time we are on the right side," said the Speaker of the Saeima.

“The gates of hell have opened on Ukrainian soil, and the Western world must do everything to close them. It is crucially important that after the war Russian society becomes aware of the war crimes committed, and that those responsible receive a just punishment. Only in this way will it be possible to restore the world order based on international rules," said Smiltēns.

The Speakers agreed on a close future dialogue, including on a personal level, coordinating cooperation and solving important issues for both countries.  

Smiltēns was also due to visit the Estonian Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the NATO Cooperative Cyber ​​Defense Center of Excellence. He plans to visit Lithuania next.

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