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President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma met the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Josip Leko on his visit to Estonia. They discussed future cooperation inside the European Union (Croatia is set to join the EU this July), economic relations between the two countries and parliamentary level cooperation.

The President of the Riigikogu welcomed Croatia’s imminent accession to the European Union and stressed the need to tighten bilateral political, economic and cultural relations. “Croatia has shown its maturity for acceding to the European Union and EU membership will help to stabilise the situation in the region and will serve as an example to its many neighbours in the Balkans,” Ergma said, adding that Estonia and Croatia have already worked well together prior to the accession at the EU 2014–2020 budgetary framework negotiations.

Ergma also highlighted the need for closer parliamentary relations. “Although we are situated in different parts of Europe, the reciprocal exchange of experiences and getting better acquainted with one another is extremely useful and necessary. The European Union Affairs Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee could in a way be pioneers in introducing a closer cooperation between other standing committees as well,” she said.

Ergma gave an overview of the development of Estonia’s economy and ICT sector and emphasised the need for practical cooperation in these fields. She also called on Croatia as our ally in the NATO to join the Cyber Defence Centre located in Estonia.

The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament thanked Estonia for its support and sharing of experiences in the EU accession process. He explained the situation in neighbouring Western Balkan states and their preparedness to join the EU.

Vice-Chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa also took part in the meeting. The Speaker of the Croatian Parliament also plans to meet Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Vice-Chairman of the Riigikogu Laine Randjärv and Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Arto Aas; he will also be visiting the ICT Demo Centre and the Seaplane Harbour.

Photos of today’s meeting are available at: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2013/Ene+Ergma/Josip+Leko/

The Riigikogu Press Service