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Today, the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma welcomed at Toompea castle the President of the Slovenian National Assembly Gregor Virant and the delegation accompanying him who came on a visit to Estonia. The main topics of the discussion were the economic and financial crisis in Europe and its impacts, as well as possible solutions. According to Gregor Virant, the goal of their visit was to get acquainted with Estonia as a rapidly developing exemplary country that has successfully coped with the changes brought by the economic crisis. In connection with that, the President of the Riigikogu provided the guest with an overview of Estonia’s budget and austerity policies of the last few years as well as of the role of the parliament in ensuring the implementation of a sustainable budget policy. The President of the Slovenian Parliament spoke of the need to reorganize both the financing and the banking system of the Slovenian state. While recognizing the excellent investment climate of Estonia, Virant noted that Slovenia’s investment environment, too, needs to be altered positively.

The problems in the sphere of education, similar for both countries, also came under discussion; young people, instead of choosing majors in engineering where jobs are available after graduation, prefer social sciences that do not meet all the demands of the state. The situation in both countries where the residents of frontier regions rather search for work in a neighbouring country was also touched upon. According to Ergma, there is development potential in the training of the Estonian IT-sector workers where the necessary competence is lacking today. The President of the Riigikogu also touched upon the problem of the aging society and large expenses of the social sector. She added that Estonia is looking for possibilities to involve the elderly more effectively in the labour market.

The Slovenian colleague also provided the President of the Riigikogu with an overview of Slovenia’s relations with its neighbouring countries and offered help from his side in tightening the relations between Estonia and the Western Balkan countries. Virant, in his words, sees the Balkans as a promising investment region.

The parties found many similarities in the promoting of democratic reforms; for Estonia, this has been expressed in cooperation with the Eastern European countries situated on the territory of the former Soviet Union and, for Slovenia, in the contribution to the development of the Western Balkan countries.

At the end of the meeting, the President of the Slovenian National Assembly made an entry into the guestbook of the Riigikogu.

The Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa, the Chairman of the Estonia-Slovenia parliamentary group Mart Nutt and the member of the European Union Affairs Committee Rannar Vassiljev also participated in the meeting.

Today, the Slovenian parliament delegation is also meeting with Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, representatives of the factions of the Riigikogu, the Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Rait Maruste and the Vice-President of the Riigikogu Laine Randjärv; a visit to the ICT Demo Centre is planned for the afternoon.

Photos of the meeting: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2012/Ene_Ergma/Virant/

The Riigikogu Press Service