Tartu, Ahhaa Science Centre, 16 December 2011 – A bilateral cooperation conference is being held today in Tartu with the Estonian and Latvian prime ministers in attendance. In opening the event, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said that the success of both countries depends to a significant extent on their relations with each other. He said cooperation with Latvia has been very fruitful to this point, but must not be confined to past achievements.
Ansip said that for true success, implementing solely Estonia’s own interests and goals would not be enough; mutual cooperation was critically important to the success of Estonia and Latvia. “Estonians have an expression, “we can’t get by without Latvia” which has become a proverb, although the lines are from a modern poet, Hando Runnel. The wide currency of this phrase shows how natural people consider the connections between our two countries,” said Ansip.
Ansip said the recent past showed how important cooperation is in times of crisis, but with the future in mind, Estonia must not rest on its laurels. “We must jointly carry out new projects, such as the ambitious Rail Baltic project, which has significant importance not only to Estonia and Latvia but to the entire region. Likewise, only together can we fulfil the regional energy policy goals so that we are no longer isolated energy-wise,” he said.
Prime Minister Dombrovskis said that cooperation in international organizations is also important alongside state cooperation. He said Estonia and Latvia share common interests on such international issues as surmounting the euro crisis.
The prime ministers of both countries thanked the compilers of the Estonia-Latvia future reports Anvar Samost and Andris Razāns – their research and ideas were used to formulate the priorities for bilateral cooperation. Today’s cooperation conference was devoted to one of three priorities – education.
The conference was attended by education ministers from both countries: Jaak Aaviksoo and Roberts Ķīlis and a number of representatives from the Estonian and Latvian education sectors and business. Besides higher education, the leaders also covered vocational education and lifelong learning related issues. The discussions also focused on the importance of establishing cooperative field in education and the importance of utilizing its potential. Education Minister Aaviksoo said it was important to concentrate limited resources in area where smaller countries have difficulty coping on their own – veterinary medicine, aviation and shipping.
The Valga Vocational Education Centre, where young Latvians will be able to study as well in the future, was highlighted at the conference as a good example of educational cooperation. Specialities are currently being selected for this project so that Latvian curricula can be prepared.