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President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas and Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen met with the Presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly of France today in Paris. The key topics discussed at the meetings were the changed security situation, the preventing of illegal immigration, the future of the European Union and the strengthening of parliamentary cooperation.

At the meeting with President of the Senate of France Gérard Larcher, President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas said that, as members of the European Union and NATO, the Baltic States shared common values, interests and goals. “We stand united in defending democracy, fighting against terrorism and strengthening security both in Europe and on missions beyond its borders. We are allies,” Ratas said.

At the meeting with President of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand, Ratas stated that the relations between Estonia and France had been strong in politics, economy and culture already since 1921, when new states emerged in Europe from the ashes of World War I. He recalled that the cooperation that had been interrupted during the period of occupation had been revived 30 years ago, and emphasised the defence cooperation.

At the meeting, Ratas thanked France for their contribution to European security and enhancing the deterrence posture of our region, and emphasised cooperation with France in strengthening global security. “Today, the security threat in our region has increased, and therefore our Eastern partners, who are under the pressure from Russia, need more attention from our allies,” Ratas said.

During the discussion of issues relating to Russia and Belarus, Ratas underlined that the Member States of the EU must remain united. “The hybrid attack organised by Belarus is not targeted only against the Baltic States and Poland, it is against the eastern border of the European Union and NATO,” Ratas said and added that the EU had to find finances for strengthening it borders. “We must also not forget what is happening in Ukraine at the same time, and we must understand that at the moment there is no sign of any positive steps being taken by Russia to comply with the Minsk Agreements, therefore the European Union’s sanctions against Russia have to continue.”  

The issues relating to the relations between the EU and China, cybersecurity and digital services of the government, climate change, energy security, Eastern Partnership, the priorities of France during its Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the future of the EU were also discussed at the meetings. All parties also gave an overview of the fight against the COVID crisis, the restrictions and the situation with vaccination in their countries.

The visit of the Baltic Speakers to Paris was dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between France and the Baltic States, and to the 30th anniversary of restoration of the independence of Baltic States. Latvia was represented by the Ambassador.

Photos of the meetings (Parliament of Lithuania)

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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