Estonian and Finnish prime ministers: Baltic region could serve as engine for domestic market

13.12.2011 | 14:08

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Turku, 12 December 2011 – Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said at their meeting today in Turku that the European Council’s decisions may provide support for countries in the debt crisis but that only the problem countries themselves can resolve the crisis.

Yet greater attention must be paid at the EU level to developing the common internal market, they said.

“At a time that many countries in the EU are in trouble with the debt crisis, the Baltic Sea countries stand out for their responsible financial policy,” said Prime Minister Katainen, adding that the Baltic region could be an example for others given its functioning internal market. For instance, a company can be founded using an ID card in both Finland and Estonia. One’s address can also be updated electronically using the ID card. Finns can use online Estonian public services at eesti.ee and for Estonians the respective website is suomi.fi. At the same time, the premiers said that the common market and digital internal market must continue to be actively developed and useful common e-services for the citizens and companies of both countries explored.

The heads of government said one of the reconditions for developing the internal market was to develop cross-border infrastructure within the European Union. The prime ministers said they were pleased over positive developments on the Rail Baltic project front. Ansip confirmed that cooperation has been good between the three Baltics in developing the project. By the end of next year, a joint enterprise should be set up to serve as the owner of the Rail Baltic project and be the linchpin for the entire development operation.

Katainen said they, too, considered Rail Baltic important and beneficial as it would simplify access to the European markets for Finnish products and Finnish companies operating in the Baltics and it would also benefit Finnish import.

The premiers also discussed the common energy market. Katainen said Estlink 2 was an important investment, as it would improve the reliability of energy supply of both countries and strengthen the energy security of both countries. The Finnish prime minister also expressed readiness to take part in discussions on solutions to the regional gas market, including the debate over the possible location of the LNG terminal.

After the bilateral meeting between the heads of government, the prime ministers took part in a University of Turku seminar on Europe’s future. In addition, Ansip also met Turku mayor Aleksi Randell and visited the international technology group Teleste and the centre for Turku’s European Capital of Culture programme, Logomo.

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