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The Foreign Affairs Committees of the Riigikogu and the Finnish Eduskunta met today in Tallinn, and discussed mainly issues related to the Baltic Sea, as well as topical issues of the international situation and security in a number of global regions. 

The Chairman of the Estonian Committee Marko Mihkelson described the cooperation between Estonia and Finland as fruitful in various fields, such as the implementation of the Baltic Sea Strategy. „We should work together towards solving problems connected with the protection of the Baltic Sea. At the same time we should concentrate on future prospects of the utilisation of the sea,“ Mihkelson emphasised. At present, he attaches great importance to the link between the Baltic Sea Strategy and the planned EU 2014–2020 financial perspective, which should ensure financing for projects through international cooperation on the EU level. The Baltic Sea Strategy (BSS) should be one of the bases for planning the structural resources for the upcoming period. Otherwise it would be very complicated to carry out the set objectives. Mihkelson emphasised that in the BSS context Estonia particularly values the creation of new transport links on the Eastern shore of the Baltic: these are Via Baltica, Rail Baltic and TEN-T – creation of new energy networks to improve integration through ESTLINK 2.
The Chairman of the Finnish Foreign Affairs Committee Timo Soini said that the protection and use of the Baltic Sea is also important for Finland from the aspects of economic activities, environmental protection and security. He expressed his happiness to see the Baltic States cooperating closely in environmental matters. Soini also highlighted the improvement of institutional cooperation in the Baltic region.
The two national Committees agreed that cooperation between the two countries can make an important contribution towards solving the problems of the Baltic Sea region. Both Mihkelson and Soini emphasised the excellent state of Estonian-Finnish relations, which is of particular significance to both countries.
Discussion on international situation touched on Afghanistan, Israeli-Palestinian relations, security in the Baltic region, and relations with Russia and the Asian countries.
The next joint meeting of the Committees will take place next year in Finland.
Pictures of the meeting can be found here:
The Riigikogu Press Service