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President Kaljulaid met with her new Latvian colleague

President Kaljulaid met with her new Latvian colleague © Mattias Tammet/Office of the President

11.07.2019

The heads of state confirmed at the press conference that they both stand for European values. President Kaljulaid also stressed that besides increasing cross-border digital cooperation, Estonia and Latvia should launch a joint packaging recycling system.

“I highly appreciate the fact that Egils Levits, the President of Latvia who was recently appointed to office, made his first foreign visit to Estonia. However, the connection between Estonia and Latvia is not merely emotional. Latvia is our third largest trading partner, and we stand for the common liberal democratic values on which the European Union relies. We share an understanding of the security situation and know that all countries must contribute to increasing security and stability. The steps taken by Latvia over the last couple of years in increasing their defence expenditures and making it to the 2% club are impressive and highly welcome,” said President Kaljulaid.

“We also discussed beer. Not the price and taxes, but the can or the bottle that remains. We must move forward together and establish the first cross-border packaging recycling system that could set an example for Europe in general. It’s nice that the very first steps have already been taken to this end. The issue is not really about cans and bottles. It’s about the environment, the Baltic Sea, our northern hemisphere, our planet. This may seem like a tiny step but we can only move forward in fighting environmental problems and the climate crisis when everyone contributes,” explained President Kaljulaid.

President Kersti Kaljulaid emphasised that apart from physical connections we need to establish closer digital relations between the two countries. “We have taken some specific steps in data exchange in this sphere, but there is still lots of space for development and improvement. We also have all the pre-requisites to engage in cross-border data exchange work and thus become a unique network in the world,” said President Kaljulaid.

The heads of state also discussed defence cooperation between the two countries, energy issues and possible cooperation in a variety of international organisations in length at the meeting. The President of Latvia, Egils Levits, was on a work visit, where he also met with the Prime Minister and Speaker of the Riigikogu as well as visited the Maarjamäe memorial.