TALLINN - Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid on Thursday met with her Latvian colleague Egils Levits and noted that the coronavirus crisis reaffirmed the strong cooperation between Estonia and Latvia.
"Cooperation remains the most important cornerstone in tackling any complex crisis. The cooperation between our countries these past few months has proven truly fruitful, in bringing our people back home, in information exchange and in coordinating actions," Kaljulaid said while meeting with Levits in Kuressaare on Thursday.
"Both Estonia and Latvia are small economies dependent on a wider economical wave. Joint efforts are needed to focus on facilitating the recovery of our economies and societies," the president said, adding that this is a good time to use the EU Recovery Plan for making our economies greener and to continue our digital transformations. "One of the lessons of the pandemic is that we need to continue our efforts to create a joint EU-wide e-identification system, which would allow us to offer joint e-services," Kaljulaid added.
According to the Estonian head of state, Thursday's meeting in Saaremaa is also a good example that the Baltic bubble really works. Kaljulaid expressed hope that many Latvian tourists will find their way to Estonia and Estonian citizens will go and explore beautiful Latvia.
The president stressed the importance of joining efforts to make progress on Rail Baltic, which is a vital link with Central Europe we are missing and would also be good for our security.
"We have made a lot of progress with another key project -- synchronization. However, we need to maintain unity in this question because at the moment it looks like the biggest obstacle to progress and ultimately to our enhanced security is among ourselves," the Estonian head of state said.
While discussing the security of the region, Kaljulaid remarked that the crisis has not changed any of the challenges we all faced before. "Russia's rhetoric and actions still do not coincide. We continue to condemn all attempts to use history as a propaganda weapon. The Baltic states were occupied by force 80 years ago and it was illegal by the standards of international law also back in 1940," the Estonian head of state added.
Kuressaare was supposed to host the annual meeting of the presidents of all three Baltic countries. However, the Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda decided to stay home at the last minute due to internal affairs.