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The President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma met the President of the Flemish Parliament Jan Peumans at Toompea Castle today. They discussed cooperation in the European Union, as well as economic and parliamentary contacts.

In the field of economic relations, Ergma highlighted the agreement between the Flemish concern Katoen Natie and Tallinna Sadam on building a large logistics centre in the Port of Muuga, with the first cargo terminal already in operation. The total value of the deal is EUR 30 millions and it creates 60 new jobs. By 2015 this should become the largest logistics centre in Estonia. Ergma expressed her hope that this investment will attract other Flemish companies to the Estonian market.

The President of the Riigikogu welcomed the interest of the Flemish representatives in Estonia’s e-government, e-voting, e-healthcare and data protection and said that Estonia is gladly willing to share its practical experiences of the possibilities of e-government. Flemish officials and experts visited Estonia last September to learn about e-state; they had meetings in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as well as at the e-State Academy.

Speaking about transport, Ergma emphasised the need to implement Rail Baltica as a transport project important for the whole Europe. She considers rail transport to be extremely important for transporting people as well as cargo. The President of the Flemish Parliament agreed that functioning transport links with Baltic states are very important for a closer integration of the EU.

Speaking about parliamentary cooperation, both sides remarked on the closer contacts that the Riigikogu and the Flemish Parliament have enjoyed recently. The Estonia-Belgium Parliamentary Group of the Riigikogu visited Flanders last July. In April this year, the Economic Affairs Committee of the Flemish Parliament visited Estonia and met the Economic Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu.

The Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Kaja Kallas and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa also took part in the meeting. In the afternoon, the President of the Flemish Parliament will visit Tartu, with meetings in the University of Tartu and Tõravere. Tomorrow he will have meetings in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and will also visit the Ports of Tallinn and Muuga.

Photos of the meeting are available at: https://fotoalbum.riigikogu.ee/v/2013/Ene+Ergma/Peumans/

The Riigikogu Press Service

6 June 2013