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Estonian and Latvian Foreign Ministers: New Electricity Connections Increase Security

16.11.2010

No. 360-E

During his meeting in Tallinn today with new Latvian Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasised that in order to ensure the energy security of Estonia and all of Europe there must be a functioning energy market and connections among the member states. “The plan to connect the Baltic energy market is a good example of a regional initiative to resolve these issues in the European Union,” said Paet. “We are interested in creating a truly functioning electricity market in the Baltic states,” he asserted.

Paet stated that it is necessary to build new Estonia-Finland, Sweden-Lithuania, and Poland-Lithuania electrical connections.

While talking about co-operation within the framework of European Union Eastern Partnership, Foreign Minister Paet noted that Latvia is welcome to contribute to the Eastern Partnership Training Centre being established in Tallinn, which will focus on training young government officials from Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Belarus and sharing reform experiences. “Focusing on programmes with visible results, like for example border management, the fight against corruption, or supporting small businesses, would give more purposeful support to the reform process in our partner nations,” he added.

On the topic of bilateral cultural relations, Paet noted that Estonia-Latvia cultural and educational contacts have been close throughout the years. “Estonia is interested in Estonian language and culture continuing to be taught in Riga. This opportunity is provided by the Riga Estonian Secondary School, which currently has 160 students,” stated Foreign Minister Paet. “In Valga the Estonian-Latvian Institute is still active—the Latvian language is also taught there,” he added. “We also hope that the Estonian-Latvian and Latvian-Estonian translation prize established last year gives momentum to Estonian and Latvian language and cultural exchange,” Paet added.

According to Foreign Minister Paet, Estonia-Latvia co-operation in visa representation and consular work is also going well. “Estonia represents Latvia for the issuing of Schengen visas in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Latvia issues visas for travel to Estonia in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan,” said Paet, describing bilateral co-operation in visa representation.

The foreign minister also discussed matters related to NATO’s Strategic Concept, the European External Action Service, and the Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

“Next year is important to Estonia in terms of Nordic-Baltic relations—in August we will celebrate 20 years since regaining independence,” stated Foreign Minister Paet.

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