Estonian PM: Local Silicon Valley could be created in cooperation with Nordic countries

  • 2023-05-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who is on a visit to Denmark, said at an Estonian-Danish business seminar on Monday, that by working together wisely, we can create our own Silicon Valley with Denmark and other Nordic countries.

Kallas spoke at the business seminar and met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, with whom she spoke about Russia's aggression against Ukraine and support for Ukraine, preparations for the NATO summit in Vilnius, regional security and bilateral and regional cooperation, government spokespeople said.

According to Kallas, Estonia and Denmark have a lot in common and that is why the visit to Denmark is among the first foreign visits of her new term.

"Bilateral relations between Estonia and Denmark are very good and we have similar views on many issues. My wish is to further boost our cooperation by strengthening economic relations. This is also the reason why I am visiting Denmark with a business delegation that includes representatives from our venture capital funds and startup ecosystem," Kallas said.

At the business seminar, the prime minister stressed that Estonia has a very open, resilient, flexible and dynamic business environment with a strong startup culture. However, in the startup and tech ecosystem, there is global competition, she added.         

"In terms of global competition, we all separately are too small to attract money from outside. We are too small to go alone, but the Nordic-Baltic region together has a population of 33 million and generates around 2 percent of global GDP. By working smartly together, we can develop a private equity and venture capital ecosystem which is both sizeable and agile, and thus attractive to large investors in third markets. Putting assets together could also create more sizeable tickets from large institutional players. In other words, instead of competing, we can build a new Silicon Valley -- let’s call it the New Nordic Tech Valley," Kallas said.

At the meeting with Frederiksen, Kallas highlighted the excellent defense cooperation of the two countries.

"Estonia highly values bilateral defense cooperation with Denmark and Denmark's role in NATO's collective defense. The strong presence of Danish forces in the Baltic Sea region helps ensure the security of all of us," Kallas said.

According to the prime minister, Estonia also wants to strengthen cooperation with Denmark to increase the energy security of our region.

"Offshore wind energy is key to achieving climate neutrality. Denmark is an important partner for us in offshore wind energy, with whom we want to further deepen our cooperation and learn from their long-term experience," Kallas said.

Speaking about Russia's aggression, Kallas emphasized that our guiding principle continues to be that freedom must be armed better than tyranny.

"Denmark's support to Ukraine has been impressive, but we all have to continue helping Ukraine," Kallas said. "The European Union jointly decided to procure ammunition for Ukraine. Now this decision must be implemented quickly. The Estonian government has already handed over its share to Ukraine and I urge everyone else to quickly do the same."

The prime minister also stated that we need to focus on holding Russia accountable and creating a special international tribunal. An EU level solution to the question of how we can start using the frozen assets of Russia to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine is also still needed.

The path to lasting peace can only be achieved by eliminating the gray areas in European security.

"Gray areas cause wars and instability. For permanent peace in Europe, we need Ukraine in both NATO and the EU. If Ukraine fulfills the seven-point plan of the European Union, we should make a decision to open EU accession negotiations by the end of this year. We also need a strong message of support to Ukraine at the NATO summit in Vilnius," Kallas said.