Saturday 3/6/21
NEIGHBOURS

Marin commissioned former minister to "study" how to improve relations with Estonia

Prime Minister Marin and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas met on Friday in Helsinki.
The prime ministers of Finland (R) and Estonia, during their meeting in Helsinki. Photo: Laura Kotila/Vnk.
The prime ministers of Finland (R) and Estonia, during their meeting in Helsinki. Photo: Laura Kotila/Vnk.

Finland and Estonia are launching a yearlong study aimed at further developing relations between the two countries.

According to the government communications department, this was decided on Friday when Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas met in Helsinki. This was Prime Minister Kallas’ first official visit abroad, which "reflects the good and close cooperation between Finland and Estonia," the Finnish government said.

Former ministers Anne-Mari Virolainen from Finland and Jaak Aaviksoo from Estonia have been appointed to lead the study.

Virolainen is an MP from the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus). In 2018-2019, she served as the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development in the government led by Prime Minister Juha Sipilä.

Foreign policy institutes in both countries will support their work. Topics to be addressed in the study include digitalisation, trade, education, contacts between citizens, and security issues.

“Finland and Estonia have an excellent, special relationship. That said, we can still develop and strengthen our joint efforts in many areas. A long time has passed since the last report was published on this subject in 2008,” said Prime Minister Marin.

Epidemic

In their talks, the Prime Ministers also discussed the situation with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures in place to manage it.

They also addressed topical EU issues such as climate policy, EU–Russian relations and the themes of next week’s videoconference of the European Council. Topics on the agenda for the videoconference of EU leaders include the COVID-19 pandemic and security and defence cooperation.

During her visit to Helsinki, Prime Minister Kallas also met with President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö.

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