Estonian and Latvian heads of state discussed issues of digital and green transitions in Riga

President Kaljulaid met with Latvian President Egils Levits in Riga today. Cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus, promotion of the green and digital transitions, and foreign and security policy became the main topics of the meeting, which was dedicated to the one hundredth anniversary of the de iure recognition of the two states.

“I offer my condolences to everyone in Estonia and Latvia who has lost a loved one because of the coronavirus,” said President Kaljulaid after the meeting. “The pandemic doesn’t care about state borders, which means that cooperation is extremely important in this fight. Our authorities and politicians have been constantly in contact during this crisis. The only way to restore free movement between the Baltic States as well as in the entire Schengen Area is by communicating, exchanging information and cooperating with each other. It’s important to beat the virus and the only thing that will help us achieve this is successful vaccination. Once again, I ask everyone to trust our doctors and get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The presidents had a lengthy discussion of the issues concerning the digital and green transitions both in the narrower perspective of our region as well as in the context of Europe as a whole. “The recent crisis caused by the virus, where ordinary offices in European capitals have been closed and physical bureaucracy has been paralysed, has clearly indicated the need to move forward with digital solutions faster and together,” emphasised the President of Estonia after the meeting. “The rapid implementation of mutually recognised digital ID cards is the foundation of this.”

According to President Kaljulaid, the arrival of the green transition is equally unavoidable and inevitable. “Our starting blocks are a little different, but it has to be carried out in both countries and it’s up to us whether we want to be among the generators of quick changes or just look on as the world around us changes – I always prefer the first,” said President Kaljulaid and expressed her hopes that the joint offshore wind farm of the states planned into the Gulf of Riga will be a flagship in the establishment of the entire energy network of the Baltic Sea region. “This way, we ensure security of supply for our countries in the future. The task of the states is to create a functional market – the legal space and infrastructure – and if we manage that, the green transition will also be economically beneficial, not just a spending project.”

The Estonian President also highlighted the successful and close cooperation in the field of national defence. “The work we do with the Latvians and other allies at the NATO Headquarters Multinational Division North is a shining example of cooperation,” said President Kaljulaid. “We make NATO better every day by practicing here with our allies and I thank Latvia for this great and important cooperation.”

The heads of state also discussed the situation in Belarus, Georgia and Armenia, the current status of the joint projects of the three Baltic States such as Rail Baltic and synchronisation of the Baltics with the European power grid, cooperation in the format of the Three Seas Initiative and the development of the European Union.

The President of the Republic is on a one-day working visit to Latvia to celebrate the passing of a hundred years of the mutual de iure recognition of the two states. The President will travel from Latvia to Lithuania this evening.