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President Kaljulaid discusses migration and digital issues with Italian counterpart

President Kaljulaid discusses migration and digital issues with Italian counterpart © Meeli Küttim

09.10.2017

President Kersti Kaljulaid today met with Italian president Sergio Mattarella, who gave a lunch in Rome in honour of the Estonian head of state. Discussions between the presidents focussed on the migration crisis, the opportunities of the digital society and the future of the European Union.

"The fact that hundreds of thousands of immigrants are arriving on Italy's shores from Africa every year, and that they have already been doing so for a number of years, isn't just a problem for Italy," President Kaljulaid said after meeting with her Italian colleague. "It's a problem for Europe as a whole, and the keys to solving the problem are in all our hands. Just as next year Italian fighters will be guarding our air space in Ämari, so we need to understand the shared concerns playing out to the south of us. And more than just understand them – we have to make our own contribution to resolving them."

Presidents Kaljulaid and Mattarella also spoke at length about the opportunities provided by the digital society and on issues related to cyber security. The Estonian head of state remarked that many of the threats we are faced with today are not bound by geography. "Those risks are similar whether you're in Tallinn or Rome, and that's why cooperation between countries is so important," she said. "A good example of that is Italy's involvement in the work of the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn, which they've been part of since the very start."

Speaking about the future of the European Union, President Kaljulaid underscored the importance of maintaining a united front on key matters. "That's in our – which is to say Estonia's, but also the entire union's – strategic interest," she noted. "Europe's facing a number of challenges, but no Member State will succeed in overcoming them on their own more effectively than if we all work together."

Tonight, as part of her official visit, President Kaljulaid will open an exhibition of the landscape paintings of Estonian artist Konrad Mägi at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna or National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome. Tomorrow she will be visiting three schools, presenting them with prints of Mägi's painting 'Italian landscape: Rome'.

Office of the President of the Republic
Department of Communication