Today, President of the Parliament of Estonia the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas held video conferences with Speaker of the Parliament of Finland the Eduskunta Anu Vehviläinen and Speaker of the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia Ināra Mūrniece. During the video calls, the Speakers spoke of the spread of the coronavirus, the progress of vaccination, and the parliamentary cooperation.
Ratas assured his Finnish colleague that Estonia had very close and warm relations with Finns at all levels. “At present, we are unfortunately forced to fight against the coronavirus on both sides of the Gulf of Finland,” Ratas said. He admitted that the COVID-19 situation in Estonia was very complicated. “The hospitals are overburdened, but they still manage, our doctors and nurses are doing excellent work and the vaccination is going on, although not as fast as we wish. Around one third of the members of the Riigikogu received their first dose of vaccine yesterday,” Ratas told the Finnish Speaker.
During his video call with the Speaker of the Parliament of Latvia, Ratas also spoke of overcoming the coronavirus crisis and thanked Latvia for offering their help to the Estonian hospitals, who at the moment are still able to treat their patients. “The situation with the spread of the coronavirus is very complicated, but we hope that the restrictions that have been put in place and the growing number of vaccinations will soon give a positive result,” Ratas said.
The Estonian and Latvian Speakers also shared their experiences of teleworking during the crisis. Besides that, they also discussed bilateral cooperation, the Rail Baltic project, synchronisation of the power systems of the Baltic States with the rest of Europe and supporting the Eastern partners in building up democracy.
“Estonia and Latvia have much in common, and our parliaments cooperate in the Baltic Assembly,” Ratas said. “The Baltic States have common challenges and common aims. I hope that when the coronavirus crisis is over, we will again find possibilities to meet in person to share experiences and deepen our cooperation.”
The Speaker of Eduskunta of Finland and the Speaker of the Saeima of Latvia congratulated Jüri Ratas on his new position and expressed hope to continue close cooperation at parliamentary level. Ratas said that he hoped that in August, when Estonia would celebrate the 30th anniversary of restoration of independence, his Finnish and Latvian colleagues could be his guests.
Photos (Erik Peinar, Chancellery of the Riigikogu)
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