Today, on October 11, Prime Minister of Latvia Valdis Dombrovskis met President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves to discuss the most important developments in cooperation between the two countries, including the situation in the Eurozone, the implementation of cross-border transportation networks as well as agreed on common priorities of Latvia and Estonia in the context of the European Union’s (EU’s) next budget for 2014-2020.
Both Latvia and Estonia are interested in more rapid adjustment of direct payments for farmers to prevent the current situation that the amount of direct payments received by both countries is among the lowest in the EU. Both leaders viewed this situation as unfair as well as the European Commission’s proposal to set the ceiling for the cohesion funding in the next multi-annual budget that would substantially reduce the amount of the cohesion funding available for the Baltic States. V.Dombrovskis and T.H.Ilves agreed that such condition contradicts the objective of the cohesion policy - to promote the development of the poorer regions to reduce disparities. The officials also agreed that the Baltic countries should jointly defend their interests, in cooperation with other like-minded countries.
The President of Estonia emphasized that Estonia assigns importance to the implementation of the cross-border connection projects, particularly the Rail Baltica project. Estonia considers the development of transport connections with Europe as an important strategic priority, said T.H. Ilves. The President of Estonia stressed the need to decisively progress in the implementation of these projects, making use of current circumstances when they are given a priority at the EU level. V.Dombrovskis expressed Latvia’s interest to continue participation in these projects, pointing to the need to identify all available sources of funding, including from the EU funds.
T.H.Ilves emphasized that despite some current difficulties in the Eurozone countries, in the long term, it is more advantageous for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to be in the Eurozone than outside it and, therefore, Estonia supports Latvia’s progress towards introduction of the single European currency. V.Dombrovskis confirmed that Latvia will respect the Maastricht criteria in drafting of the 2012 budget to introduce the euro on January 1, 2014.
The President of Estonia and the Prime Minister of Latvia also discussed current developments in the interior policy of the two countries. T.H.Ilves congratulated V.Dombrovskis on the progress in developing the coalition model and expressed his hope to continue the close cooperation. V.Dombrovskis, on his turn, congratulated T.H.Ilves on the re-election to the post of the President of Estonia for the second term and appreciated the fact that the President had chosen Latvia as the destination for his first foreign visit.
Trade and investment indicators of Latvia and Estonia:
In 2011, Latvia’s exports to Estonia continue to increase. Export increase compared to Q2 of 2011 is 43%. Import indicators from Estonia also show a positive trend. The increase in imports in the first half of 2011 compared to Q2 of 2010 is 20%. In the first half of 2011 Estonia was the second largest export partner and the fifth largest import partner of Latvia after Lithuania, Germany, Russia and Poland.
Estonia is the second largest investor of Latvia according to investment volume. According to the information of the Bank of Latvia, in Q2 of 2011 the Estonia’s direct investment in Latvia amounted to LVL 893.8 million. Latvia’s direct investment in Estonia in Q2 of 2011 amounts to LVL 45.4 million thus ranking it in the third place.
Photo of the meeting:
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister
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