Today, President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Jüri Ratas participated in the video conference of the Speakers of the parliaments of the Nordic Countries and the Baltic States (NB8), where the discussions focused on measures against COVID-19 and national re-opening strategies.
The participants gave an account of the COVID-19 situation in their countries, the level of vaccinations and the plans for lifting the restrictions.
The President of the Riigikogu thinks that in order to ease the restrictions, it is necessary to be sure that the current decline in infection rates is permanent. “Unnecessary risks that would undo all the efforts made so far cannot be taken, and therefore the restrictions will be eased gradually,” Ratas said. “Estonia’s priority is to open schools partially for contact education, and to gradually relax restrictions on outdoor sports, training and hobby education.” Ratas underlined that vaccination played an important role in the reopening of society.
Ratas gave his colleagues an overview of the remote-attendance sittings of the Riigikogu, and added that this spring, mainly urgent draft legislation had been in the proceedings of the Riigikogu. He assured that Estonia would be happy to share its experience with other parliaments. He emphasised that Estonia remained committed to cooperation in other digital and cyber fields.
The participants of the video conference also exchanged information about the Fifth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament (IPU). Ratas said that Estonia supported interactivity in parliamentary communication. “The Speakers must have a possibility to share their experience and ideas,” Ratas explained. “Although the pandemic is the most essential problem for us, we must not forget other urgent issues that are based on our common values – democracy, principles of the rule of law and transparency.”
Ratas mentioned security, defence cooperation, green economy and climate neutrality as important spheres of parliamentary cooperation. In connection with that, he called on the NB8 countries to join the World Clean Up Day on 19 September.
Photos of the meeting (Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)
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