“It is a very special feeling to make the first foreign visit of my term to Finland, especially at a time when we can very rarely meet each other face to face,” said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas after the meeting with Marin. “Inevitably, we have to be very careful because of COVID-19, and fighting the virus has been a priority for my government from day one. We are working to ensure that the movement between Estonia and Finland is soon made possible again, with all the necessary precautions.” The prime minister confirmed that limiting the spread of the virus is especially important for Estonia, and therefore, it is most important that all steps that allow people to continue their normal lives are taken safely.
Kallas and Marin also talked about speeding up vaccination. “Rapid vaccination everywhere is the only way to overcome the crisis. Here, Estonia can contribute with digital solutions – by supporting the trust architecture of secure vaccination certificates, the pilot project of which we are undertaking in cooperation with the World Health Organisation.”
At today’s meeting, the prime ministers also kicked off the preparation of the third report on future cooperation between Estonia and Finland. “Friendship and trust and close cooperation between our countries constantly inspire us to find new forms and goals of cooperation. That is why I am particularly pleased that the report focuses on finding new opportunities.” The report is prepared by Jaak Aaviksoo on behalf of Estonia and Anne-Mari Virolainen on behalf of Finland. It aims to find new forms of cooperation, the implementation of which would help to create more synergies between the countries, for example by using the technologies of the future to help countries meet new global challenges.
When discussing Finnish–Estonian cooperation, Kallas expressed hope that we would find more opportunities to further develop data exchange between the countries and digital cooperation in Europe. “Our digital prescriptions are valid in both countries and our business registers are already exchanging data, but neighbouring countries that are so close still have areas where common digital solutions would help cut the red tape and make people’s lives easier.”
The prime ministers also spoke about plans to achieve climate neutrality, as well as bioenergetics, European security, and cooperation in the development of wind energy in the Baltic Sea and the Rail Baltica project.
In the morning meeting with President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Kallas discussed overcoming the health crisis, transatlantic relations, and issues related to Russia. “Russia is a neighbour for both of us and we must always stick to our European values when communicating with the federation,” said Kallas. Kallas emphasised that the most important thing in relations with Russia is a common approach of the European Union, which she hopes will be supported by the next European Council.
Photos from the visit: