Estonian president invites Finland to join Three Seas Initiative

  • 2024-05-27
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - After meeting with visiting Finnish President Alexander Stubb in Estonia on Monday, President Alar Karis stated that the shared goal of Estonia and Finland is to maintain peace in the Baltic Sea region, and invited Finland to join the Three Seas Initiative.

"Finland's accession to NATO is a victory for Finland, the Baltic Sea region, and the security of the entire alliance. As allies, we now have the opportunity and duty to ensure that our defense capability, which is part of NATO's collective defense, grows even stronger," Karis emphasized.

The head of state noted that it is significant that Stubb's visit to Estonia, in his capacity as the president of Finland, is a state visit.

"This confirms the extraordinary friendship between our countries and the importance of this visit. Our discussions also once again showed that Estonia and Finland are friends who understand the world very similarly, both being committed EU member states, wishing to see a strong, economically prosperous, and influential Europe," the Estonian president said. "Transatlantic partnership and finding and maintaining allies globally are important to us. We agree that we must do everything in our power to keep the Baltic Sea region peaceful."

Karis noted that joint NATO membership opens new doors for Estonia and Finland for even closer defense cooperation in the Gulf of Finland and, together with Sweden, also throughout the Baltic Sea region.

The presidents of Estonia and Finland discussed Russia's aggression and the colonial war initiated by the Kremlin in Ukraine, the aim of which is to destroy the country and the freedom of Ukrainians.

"We have both significantly supported Ukraine. We must remind others that supporting Ukraine requires greater determination. The US aid package to Ukraine is very necessary, but Europe should take it as an incentive for additional major aid shipments, not as an excuse to do less. The allies actually have all the means to stop Russia," Karis said.

As neighbors of Russia, Estonia and Finland have seen hybrid attacks on their borders firsthand, according to the president.

"Their goal is to intimidate, sow confusion, and create uncertainty. The events of recent months remind us of the importance of strong border control and modern border infrastructure to protect our shared EU border. But these events also remind us that we must be ready for quick decisions, as Finland did by closing all eastern border crossings," he said.

Karis invited Finland to join the Three Seas Initiative. 

"We're observing a decrease in the importance of east-west trade routes. This geopolitical change further highlights the need to develop north-south connections. Finland is a natural part of our region's north-south infrastructure corridor, and cooperation in developing cross-border projects in transport, energy, or communication strengthens both of our economies," he noted.

With regard to cultural cooperation between Estonia and Finland, the president noted that it is an area where the size of countries and nations does not matter.

"On both sides of the Gulf of Finland, education and intelligent people are highly valued. Joint cultural projects have been strongly supported by the Finnish-Estonian Cultural Fund, which was established in the wake of the centenary of our countries," he added.

The Finnish president, Alexander Stubb, said in an interview with ETV television channel after his election that "a Finnish handshake can always be trusted."

"I now confirm on my part that an Estonian handshake can also always be trusted," Karis told his Finnish colleague.