President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas and President of Romania Klaus Werner Iohannis spoke of the importance of European unity and the possibilities for strengthening it at their meeting today.
Ratas assured that the bilateral relations between Estonia and Romania were excellent. “Estonia and Romania are good partners and allies both in NATO and in the European Union. We are likeminded countries in several fundamental foreign and security policy matters,” Ratas said, and mentioned as examples the issues relating to Russia, the Eastern Partnership and transatlantic ties.
Ratas underlined that Estonia and Romania needed to continue cooperation in the name of unity, and to act in a coordinated manner in international organisations as well as bilaterally. “I am confident that our today’s meeting and your visit will give a boost to our relations, and we can cooperate in economy, in education and in other different fields, as well as in digitalisation of public sector,” Ratas said.
Ratas emphasised that he was very glad that the visit of the President of Romania took place namely this year, as in February we celebrated the centenary of diplomatic relations between Estonia and Romania.
The meeting focused on transatlantic relations, unity of the EU, relations with Russia and Russia’s influence activities. The President of Romania expressed regret that there was a lack of strong unity in Europe. In his opinion, this can be seen from the different approaches of European countries to the Nord Stream project, as well as the attitude towards China.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson and Chairman of the Estonia-Romania Parliamentary Friendship Group Erki Savisaar also participated in the meeting.
Mihkelson pointed out that the countries of the West should be more consistent in their relations with Russia. He thinks that countries like Estonia and Romania have to be more active and strategic in order to make other Member States understand better what Russia is actually like. He also mentioned the meeting of Presidents Biden and Putin that took place yesterday, and said that Europe could counter Russia’s influencing activities only in cooperation with the United States. “We have to use the mechanisms that could hinder the support of the oligarchs to Russia’s corrupt authorities,” Mihkelson added.
The possibilities of developing the digital governance were also discussed at the meeting. Ratas said that Estonia was ready to share its experiences with Romania and to introduce various digital solutions that could contribute to better provision of healthcare, education and other public sector services to citizens. Erki Savisaar gave the President of Romania an overview of the e-governance services of Estonia and told about their usefulness. He underlined that it was important for the state to involve the private sector in the development of digital services. The cyber security issues relating to digital services and the solutions to them were also spoken about.
Photos of the meeting (Erik Peinar, Riigikogu)
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