At a meeting with his Slovakian counterpart Zuzana Čaputová in Košice marking the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Estonia and Slovakia, President Alar Karis remarked that the two countries are great allies in the European Union and NATO and share the same views on all key issues.
President Karis noted that for small countries in a complex geopolitical environment, the prerequisite for increased development and investment is robust democracy at the national level, regional stability and international order based on rules.
“Lasting security can only be achieved by eliminating the grey zones in Europe, for which political decisiveness is required for the expansion of both the EU and NATO,” the Estonian head of state said. “It is in our collective interest to ensure that Ukraine wins the war and that the world returns to operating in accordance with rules and norms. We can only speak of peace once all Russian forces have withdrawn from Ukraine, once all crimes of aggression and those who committed them have been brought to justice and once Russia has paid for the damage it has inflicted.”
“The strength of the solidarity between us allies is reflected in the fact that our defence cooperation is developing at pace,” the Estonian head of state said. “We are grateful to Slovakia for its contribution to our regional defence.”
Speaking of economic cooperation, President Karis highlighted the expansion into Slovakia of the Estonian ‘unicorns’ Bolt and Wise, but admitted that although trade between the two countries increased in 2022, there is room for improvement in the digital field, education, the green transition and infrastructure projects.
During their meeting, the Estonian and Slovakian heads of state discussed ways of assisting Ukraine and how to contribute to the country’s rebuilding. “Our thoughts are with the Ukrainian people as we bear horrified witness to Russia’s aggression against them,” President Karis said. “We will do everything we can to help Ukraine defend itself against the aggressor.”
Highlighting the fact that Estonia’s assistance to Ukraine has exceeded 1% of GDP, President Karis noted that Slovakia also stood out for its humanitarian and military aid for the beleaguered nation: it has supplied Ukraine with fighter jets, anti-aircraft systems and other weaponry and extended temporary protection to more than 112,000 refugees from the country. President Karis added that in the wake of the war both Estonia and Slovakia will be able to contribute to the rebuilding of Ukraine, noting that Estonia is already constructing a new kindergarten in the city of Zhytomyr.