TALLINN - Ways to offer public services to residents conveniently across the border, jointly support the development of regions and increase readiness for managing crises will be discussed at a scheduled meeting of the joint Estonia-Latvia intergovernmental committee in Riga on Wednesday.
"At today's meeting we together with Latvia's Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Affairs Juris Puce can look back at the cross-border cooperation to date and take up the next topics of interest for the parties," Estonia's Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab said according to spokespeople.
Relevant authorities of Estonia and Latvia are already engaging in cooperation in matters such as rescue and medicine. Preparations are underway for the signing of an agreement on cooperation in emergencies, which focuses specifically on actions during a crisis.
"Naturally the storm that hit both countries and related preventative as well as assistive cooperation will come up," Aab said.
In addition, the two countries can work together in the preparation of programs of EU structural funds for the next period.
"The Estonia-Latvia governmental committee can facilitate the creation of cross-border synergy and assist in finding opportunities for combining the national measures and financial resources of Estonia and Latvia for next year for investments into border areas," Aab said, explaining that in this way the investments would have a bigger effect and the practice would serve as an example also on the level of the EU.
The committee will also mull opportunities for joint transport connections, including the possibility of a ferry connection between Estonia's Saaremaa island and the Latvian port of Ventspils. In addition, discussions will be held on the harmonization of geodetic systems concerning the border areas and updating geospatial data. Harmonized spatial data can be used in modern spatial planning and administration, location based services and maintenance of the national border.
Another topic to be discussed is the creation of a joint package deposit system.
The joint Estonia-Latvia intergovernmental committee is tasked with intensifying cooperation between the countries, development of regions and resolving of common challenges, including through supporting free cross-border movement of people and workforce, goods, services and capital.
The Estonian government is represented at the meeting by Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab and the government of Latvia by Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Affairs Juris Puce.
This summer marked 15 years since the establishment of the joint committee that meets every year.