During her working visit to Estonia on Wednesday, the Prime Minister Evika Siliņa emphasised that Latvia and Estonia enjoy productive cooperation and excellent neighbourly relations. The Prime Minister E. Siliņa met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia Kaja Kallas and the Speaker of the Parliament Lauri Husar within the framework of the visit.
The officials discussed cooperation in the fields of the economy, security and defence, energy, traffic and transport, as well as education and culture.
“Latvia and Estonia enjoy outstanding cooperation and neighbourly relations”, emphasized E. Siliņa at the joint press conference of the Heads of Government of the two countries. “I can assure you that, together with the Prime Minister of Estonia, we are also making a loud voice in the European Union, when we speak up for both our own and Ukraine’s security,” said E. Siliņa.
The countries have the closest cooperation in the areas of security and defence, for example in joint procurement of air defence systems from Germany. The cooperation in the development of joint transport connections, in particular “Rail Baltica”, also remains active.
As regards the field of energy, the Head of the Government of Latvia highlighted the agreement between the Baltic States on the desynchronization of electricity networks. The officials discussed the damage to gas and communications connections in the Baltic Sea, as well as cooperation in the use of Paldiski liquefied gas terminal in a potential crisis situation. E. Siliņa also stressed that Inčukalns Underground Gas Storage is almost full and can provide supplies to the region, including Estonia.
With regard to regional security and NATO, E. Siliņa pointed to the two countries’ consensus that Russia and its invasion of Ukraine threaten European and global security. It is therefore important to continue the support by the European Union, NATO and partner countries to Ukraine in order to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders.
The Heads of Government agreed on the need to strengthen sanctions against Russia and fight the circumvention of sanctions. Further progress is also required towards ensuring that Russia bears full responsibility for its crimes of aggression in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the work on the implementation of regional defence plans, including the strengthening of NATO’s air defence, needs to be actively pursued in the run-up of the NATO Summit in Washington (USA) in 2024. It is also important for Sweden to join NATO as soon as possible.
E. Siliņa also welcomed the European Commission’s recommendation to start the negotiation procedure on the accession of Ukraine and Moldova to the European Union. The officials shared the view that the European Council should take a decision on the opening of negotiations in line with this recommendation in December.