TALLINN - The discussions at the meeting of Estonia's Riigikogu speaker Juri Ratas and Czech Senate president Milos Vystrcil on Monday focused on strengthening bilateral relations in the fields of energy and digitalization.
Economic cooperation, defense cooperation, green transition and energy security were also spoken about, Riigikogu spokespeople said.
Ratas said that the Czech Republic is a close partner and a like-minded ally for Estonia both in the European Union and in NATO. The Riigikogu speaker thanked the Czech Republic for its contribution to the NATO Baltic air policing mission. He recalled that in 2019, the Czech forces were present at the Amari air base, and expressed hope that they would return soon. "The cooperation between our countries has been long, this December we will celebrate the centenary of our diplomatic relations,” Ratas said.
Energy security, green transition and the measures to counter the sudden rise of energy prices were discussed in greater detail at the meeting. Ratas emphasized that the rise of gas and electricity prices must not prevent the achievement of the green targets. According to him, Estonia’s positions regarding the green package "Fit for 55" are being drawn up. "The transition should be fair and not take place at the expense of people," Ratas said, adding that the synchronization of the Baltic energy networks with those of western Europe was also underway.
"Estonia has formulated the target of climate neutrality by 2050, and decided that production of energy and oil from oil shale must end by 2040 at the latest," Ratas said. "This will be a time for transformation in order to find new energy sources and to solve the social-economic issues as well. Estonia sees solar and wind energy as alternatives, and is ready also to consider taking into use nuclear energy, because this is a potential alternative to fossil fuels." Ratas admitted that it was definitely necessary to hold a debate on the adoption of nuclear energy because the issues relating to financing and also the emotions of people needed to be resolved.
Both speakers acknowledged that there was still unused potential in bilateral relations, and agreed that the topics relating to energy and digitalization would be dealt with further in the framework of parliamentary cooperation. According to the president of the Czech Senate, the interest of their entrepreneurs in cooperation is great.
Chairman of the Estonia-Czech Republic parliamentary friendship group and member of the European Union affairs committee and the finance committee Aivar Soerd also participated in the meeting. He highlighted the close and excellent parliamentary relations between the two countries. Speaking of climate neutrality, Soerd remarked that achieving these targets would provide opportunities for innovation, and it would also be possible to apply for support from the Recovery Plan for Europe.
On Monday morning, Ratas and Vystrcil opened the Czech-Estonian business forum at the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In his opening address, Ratas called on focusing on bilateral economic cooperation and to look for wider possibilities for cooperation in digitalization and artificial intelligence.
On Tuesday, Milos Vystrcil and the delegation accompanying him will visit e-Estonia Briefing Center. After the visit to Estonia, the president of the Czech Senate will head on a visit to Lithuania.