On Friday, June 11, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip familiarized themselves with a report on future cooperation between Latvia and Estonia and recognized the prepared proposals. Within the framework of the visit, both officials met the entrepreneurs of Estonia and discussed the economic situation in Latvia and Estonia, cooperation in the energy sector and other areas.
Prime Minister V.Dombrovskis congratulated the Prime Minister of Estonia on the progress made in the introduction of Euro in 2011. The Prime Minister said that this is a positive signal to other Baltic countries on meeting the Maastricht criteria and to potential investors about stabilization of the economy in the Baltic region.
A.Ansip Prime Minister of Estonia recognized the structural reforms and economic stabilization measures implemented by the Latvian government. During the meeting with Estonian entrepreneurs, it was admitted that the entrepreneurs are satisfied with business opportunities and activities in Latvia.
Prime Minister V.Dombrovskis informed about the instruments for economic recovery and structural reforms implemented by the government. A.Ansip Prime Minister of Estonia emphasized that that Estonia's economic stabilization has always been based on conservative fiscal policy. Prime Minister of Latvia V.Dombrovskis informed that currently the Draft Legal Act on Fiscal Responsibility is being developed, which would set strict fiscal discipline in Latvia.
The two parties also discussed the cooperation on energy issues, agreeing that it is necessary to continue work on the development of electricity market in the Baltic countries and that there is a need to develop the interconnection and dynamically develop new power in the region.
The Prime Ministers of both countries thanked the authors – Andris Razāns Policy Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Estonian representative Anvar Samost for their contribution to the development of the Report on Future Cooperation between Latvia and Estonia. Prime Minister A.Ansip mentioned that such a report on cooperation was developed to promote the cooperation between Estonia and Finland. As the result, Finland is one of the most important investors in Estonia. ”Based on this positive practice, we want to strengthen Latvia-Estonia relations, both between the people of the countries, local governments, businesses, universities and other areas”, said A.Ansip. .
Prime Minister of Latvia V.Dombrovskis emphasized that all 65 proposals for future cooperation between the two countries will be discussed and an agreement will be reached on the mechanism for implementation of the recommendations in a special meeting in November. "It is important that the citizens, governments, NGOs and entrepreneurs involve actively in strengthening the cooperation between Latvia and Estonia”. It is only through everyone’s involvement that the more intensive cooperation of both countries can be achieved”, said V.Dombrovskis.
The report called for strengthening the Latvian and Estonian citizens' cooperation at the level of public organizations and personal contacts and to develop an effective transport network between the two countries. The assessment of the bilateral cooperation in financial, energy and transport sectors suggests that the cooperation between both countries should be promoted though harmonization of the taxation systems, co-ordination of traffic-related project development, and implementation of the project "Rail Baltica" and other transport infrastructure projects, as well as the development of a common Baltic energy market, which would be integrated into the EU energy market.
The report states that the cooperation of both countries on foreign affairs, the EU and security policy issues has always been good and efficient. However, the need for cost reduction in these sectors would require new and effective forms of cooperation in these areas. The development of joint embassies of both countries in certain countries, for example Egypt, is mentioned as a good example of cooperation between the two countries.
The experts in education, science and technology recommend the cooperation by harmonizing the structure of higher education and coordinating specialization of universities, avoiding duplication, as well as cooperating in obtaining the international grants and developing modern research laboratories and projects.
The cooperation in the area of culture could be promoted by translating the literature of the neighbouring country, thus promoting the public awareness of both countries' culture and history. The attention should also be paid to public broadcasters, which could exchange with the most popular TV-movies of the two countries, documentary films, popular music and the arts. In the area of tourism, the cooperation among all three Baltic countries plays an important role, especially in attracting the tourists from the third countries and regions, offering common routes and services.
The report speaks about Valka and Valga border, which has acquired a new meaning after Latvia and Estonia joined the Schengen area. The experts underline the need for new and advanced solutions between the providers of ambulance, rescue services, health care, police and other services of the two countries, thus satisfying the needs of the residents at the borderland. The experts admit that both governments should take into account the differences in the border areas in planning and implementing the public service reforms.
A report of the future cooperation between Latvia and Estonia in pdf. format is available in Estonian, Latvia and English in the homepage of the Cabinet of Ministers: http://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/aktuali/zinas/2010gads/06/110610-mp-02/
The photos of the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Latvia and Estonia are available in the photo album of the State Chancellery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valstskanceleja/sets/72157624250483718/
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