TALLINN - Estonian parliament speaker Juri Ratas spoke about the spread of the coronavirus, the course of vaccination and parliamentary cooperation in his introductory call to Finnish parliament speaker Anu Vehvilainen and Latvian parliament speaker Inara Murniece
Ratas told his Finnish colleague that Estonia has very close and warm relations with the Finns at every level. "Unfortunately, we are currently forced to fight the coronavirus on both sides of the Gulf of Finland," Ratas was quoted by parliament spokespeople as saying. According to him, the situation regarding COVID-19 in Estonia is very complicated. "Hospitals are crowded, but they are coping, our doctors and medical staff are doing a commendable job and vaccination is progressing, although not as fast as we want," Ratas told the Finnish speaker.
In Friday's video call with the speaker of the Latvian parliament, Ratas also spoke about overcoming the coronavirus crisis and thanked Latvia for providing assistance to Estonian hospitals, which are currently still able to treat patients. "The situation concerning the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia is very complicated, but we hope that the established restrictions and the growing number of vaccinations will soon bring a positive change," Ratas said.
At the video meeting, Estonian and Latvian colleagues shared their teleworking experience during the crisis. Bilateral cooperation, the Rail Baltic project, the synchronization of the Baltic electricity system with the rest of Europe and supporting the Eastern Partners in the development of democracy were also discussed.
"Estonia and Latvia have a lot in common and our parliaments work closely together in the Baltic Assembly," Ratas said. "The Baltic states have common challenges and common goals. I hope that once the coronavirus crisis is over, we will once again find an opportunity to share experiences and deepen cooperation face-to-face."
The speakers of the Finnish and Latvian parliaments congratulated Ratas on his new appointment and expressed hope to continue close cooperation at the parliamentary level. Ratas expressed hope that in August, when Estonia celebrates the 30th anniversary of the restoration of independence, the colleagues will be able to come to Estonia.