At their meeting today, President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia Gordan Grlić-Radman spoke about the security situation and defence cooperation in NATO and the European Union in connection with the war in Ukraine.
Ratas underlined the excellent relations between Estonia and Croatia in the European Union and their strong allied relations in NATO. “In the current security situation, it is very important to keep our unity,” Ratas said. He acknowledged Croatia’s membership in and contribution to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.
According to Ratas, Estonia will continue to provide military, political, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. He and the Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs gave an overview of receiving of war refugees and the activities to support them in their countries.
Developments in West Balkan were also discussed. Ratas stated that Estonia supported the enlargement of the European Union, because keeping both West Balkan and the Eastern Partnership countries on the course towards the European Union and supporting their reforms was important for securing the stability and security of Europe.
Speaking of bilateral relations, Ratas highlighted the e-services, where a good foundation for further cooperation had been laid, because already now the digital prescriptions service was functioning across the borders. Cooperation in defence industry also holds a great potential.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia expressed regret that, due to Russia’s aggression, the security and stability in Europe, as well as values and international law were under attack. He said that Croatia understood the people of Ukraine very well, because in the 1990s Croatia also experienced war. At the meeting, he described an incident where last week a drone from Ukraine that had flown over several NATO countries unnoticed fell down in a suburb of Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and emphasised that in order to prevent such incidents in the future, the member states had to cooperate better in air policing.
Chairman of the Estonia-Croatia Parliamentary Friendship Group Jüri Jaanson and Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Mihhail Lotman also participated in the meeting. Lotman gave an overview of his recent visit to Ukraine and said that Putin’s regime had launched a war not only against Ukraine, but against all Western values. Jaanson spoke of the humanitarian disaster caused by the war in Ukraine. Both Jaanson and Lotman underlined that we need to distinguish between Putin’s regime and the Russian people.