RIGA - President Valdis Zatlers met with the visiting Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip on April 29 to discuss economic and financial measures for overcoming the crisis in both countries, reported news agency LETA. It is important that the challenges presented by the crisis did not damage the integrated market of the Baltic countries, and it is also important that the Baltic countries continue work on joint projects to improve their competitiveness on the global market, said Zatlers. Ansip, in turn, praised Latvia for being able to overcome the economic downturn, and emphasized the importance of cooperation between both countries during the crisis.
Zatlers and Ansip also discussed Estonia’s experience in its introduction of the euro and the importance of Maastricht criteria for a country’s sustainable development. Ansip said that accession to the eurozone had increased investors’ interest in the Estonian market, and that it was in Estonia’s interest that Latvia joins the euro area too.
The officials also discussed the Baltic countries’ cooperation in diversification of electricity and liquefied gas supply sources in the interest of consumers. Zatlers noted that the Baltic countries had to arrive at a solution best for all the countries regarding the development of the liquefied gas market, adding that the existing infrastructure in Latvia meant that Latvia was the most suitable country for building a new liquefied gas terminal.
Ansip also met with Saeima Speaker Solvita Aboltina (Unity). During the meeting, Aboltina congratulated Ansip on his recent re-election, and the prime minister noted that this is his first official visit to Latvia since the re-election.
Aboltina and Ansip also discussed bilateral cooperation between Latvia and Estonia, including contacts among parliament speakers, commissions, and regional organizations. Also discussed was the organization of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the de facto renewal of Latvia’s and Estonia’s independence, which will be held in Tallinn, Riga, and other European cities on August 20 - 21.
Ansip lauded Latvia’s achievements in overcoming the economic crisis, and urged Latvia to continue to work towards accession to the eurozone. He said that he is convinced that Latvia would benefit from the euro. “I am convinced that just as the euro is beneficial for Estonia, it will be very beneficial for Latvia,” Ansip said. He added that while the support of Estonian people to the euro accession was 50 percent before accession, after it the support has grown to over 60 percent.
After a meeting with his Latvian counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis (Unity), Prime Minister Ansip said that Estonians are satisfied with the introduction of the euro, which has ensured additional stability and support for Estonia’s economy, and improved the country’s trade with the European Union member states.
Estonia’s accession to the eurozone has ensured additional investments, stability of currency and additional security for borrowers, he added. It is obvious that the introduction of the euro was justified, noted Ansip.
The prime ministers will meet again in two weeks in Tallinn.