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The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) held a joint video sitting with the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Riksdag, the Parliament of Sweden, to discuss the problems faced by the countries of Europe and exchange opinions on the issues relating to regional security. During the meeting, it was underlined that the challenges to be addressed by the EU can be overcome only by joint action.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson thinks that the countries of the West have to cooperate more than before in the name of unity, and this is necessary both in Europe and in transatlantic relations. “The importance of the role of transatlantic relations is growing,” Mihkelson said. Therefore, Europe has to be more active in its relations with the United States. It is necessary to cooperate in different spheres, from organisation of border crossing to ensuring of security.”

At their joint sitting, the two committees also discussed Russia’s increasingly aggressive behaviour towards its neighbouring states and its civil society, and the need for imposing new and harsher sanctions. “Russia is influencing the Western countries with the means of a hybrid war,” Mihkelson said. “In order to stand against it and prevent financing of Russia’s influencing activities with corrupt money, we have to be united and to impose sanctions against the oligarchs who finance the dictators.”  

At the meeting, Mihkelson also spoke of China’s growing influence in global politics and gave an overview of Estonia’s presidency in the UN Security Council.

Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Mihhail Lotman spoke of the political situation in Belarus. He pointed out that Belarus was in Russia’s sphere of influence and under its strong control. “Neither party loves the other, but the symbiosis is clear,” Lotman said.

The Estonian and Swedish Foreign Affairs Committees also exchanged experiences of teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic and shared information on the state of vaccination, downward trend of infections and restoring the free movement of people. The Swedish side also gave an overview of the Presidency period of the OSCE in 2021.

Riigikogu Press Service
Epp-Mare Kukemelk
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