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Today the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma met at Toompea Castle the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Miroslava Němcová who is on a two-day official visit to Estonia. At the meeting, cooperation in the European Union and NATO and bilateral relations, as well as parliamentary relations were discussed.

In Ergma’s words, the Czech Republic is an important partner for Estonia and their ways of thinking coincide in many issues. Both countries value transatlantic relations and they attach importance to the EU enlargement and Eastern Partnership as well as completion of the development of the EU internal market. When touching upon the situation in the eurozone, both agreed that a responsible fiscal policy and the financial stability of member states is beneficial for all EU countries.

When speaking of the economic cooperation of the two countries, everybody admitted that there was still unused potential in trade and mutual investments. While cooperation projects have been launched between universities, research cooperation should certainly be tightened. When mentioning the issue of transport links, Ene Ergma welcomed the Czech Republic’s interest in participating in the implementation of Rail Baltica project. Czech enterprises have shown interest in constructing the Rail Baltica railway and trains and supplying the rail lines with the necessary equipment. Both the Estonian and the Czech heads of parliaments admitted that Rail Baltica is an important trans-European transport project which the Baltic countries must implement in cooperation with their neighbours.

When speaking about tourism, the President of the Riigikogu highlighted the popularity of Prague and the Czech Republic as a tourist destination among Estonians; however, increasingly more Czech tourists might discover for themselves Estonia. Both Ergma and Němcová expressed a hope that soon it would be possible to relaunch direct flights between Tallinn and Prague.

Ergma thanked the Speaker for the Czech Republic’s contribution to Baltic air policing. She also expressed her delight that the Czech Republic had begun to participate in the work of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre in Tallinn. “It is very necessary that more states should be engaged in cyber defence, because together we can better ensure our cyber security,” she said.

Both heads of parliaments emphasised the busy and close relations of the parliaments. Good ties have been established between different committees both in the Chamber of Deputies as well as the Senate of the Czech Republic. Mutual visits take place. Last year, the Committee on the Budget of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and the committee on economy and rural life of the Senate visited the Riigikogu. The Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Senate is expected to visit Estonia this autumn.

Němcová will also have meetings with the Vice-President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas and the Estonia–Czech parliamentary group today. Tomorrow she will meet Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu.

Photos of today’s meeting in the Riigikogu are available at: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2013/Ene+Ergma/Nemcova/

The Riigikogu Press Service