Mayors of Tallinn and Helsinki discuss cooperation, sustainable development

  • 2023-01-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kolvart met on Wednesday with a delegation from the City of Helsinki, led by Mayor Juhana Vartiainen, to discuss cooperation between the two cities, developing sustainable and durable solutions and boosting economic relations. 

Kolvart introduced the upcoming events of the Tallinn European Green Capital and invited the city of Helsinki to participate.

"We have nearly 60 different events and activities in our program, many of them with an international dimension, providing ideas and opportunities for action for experts and communities alike," Kolvart said according to spokespeople. 

The mayors of Tallinn and Helsinki discussed how big cities can do more to support green energy production and the development of sustainable solutions.

"It is very important to support and lead the development of sustainable solutions in cities around the Baltic Sea. I believe that cooperation between Helsinki and Tallinn will enable both cities to reach the best solutions," Kolvart said. "For example, Tallinn's European Green Capital initiative, Test in Tallinn, offers an opportunity to bring green innovation to the urban space and make Tallinn a center of green competence in Europe. To this end, we invite businesses, communities and experts to come up with ideas to test them in Tallinn."

The mayor of Helsinki stressed that the opportunity to test and develop different new technologies and green solutions in both cities will create many new opportunities for businesses in the two countries. As a result of the cooperation, economic relations between the two countries will intensify.

The mayors also shared the experiences of the two cities in hosting Ukrainian war refugees and sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The mayor of Helsinki admitted that Tallinn has done very well given the large number of refugees. While the estimated number of war refugees in Helsinki is around 4,000 and in Finland 40,000 in total, the number of war refugees in Tallinn is around 44,000 and in Estonia 65,000.

On Thursday morning, the mayors and regional police chiefs from both countries met to exchange experiences on police-city cooperation, security at major events and crisis preparedness. They also discussed how to work together, as both capitals face similar challenges.   

Joosep Kaasik, the head of the North Prefecture of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board, said that there are lessons to be learnt and positives to be taken from every crisis.

"We have been working in crisis management mode in the police for the last three years. Thanks to these difficult but instructive experiences, we are today better prepared for new possible crises and we know that no crisis can be solved by the state without the local government and vice versa. There have also been important developments in the organization of urban crisis management. And I am glad that we have been able to work shoulder to shoulder with our good partners, including Tallinn city authorities and our neighbors at the international level, both in the Kosovo crisis and in the Ukrainian refugee crisis," he said.  

Lasse Aapio, Helsinki's police commissioner, said that the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine war crises have significantly changed the internal climate in cities, which is why cooperation and joint exercises are particularly important now.