Rõivas hails economic ties between Sweden and Estonia

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven (left) and Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (right) met on the latter's visit to Stockholm. Oct. 12, 2016. (Taavi Rõivas/Facebook)
10/13/2016 8:19 AM
Source: BNS
Category: Business

Sweden has emerged as the most important economic partner for Estonia, said Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, who met with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on a visit to Stockholm on Wednesday.

"Countries that believe in free trade must work together more than they have done so far," spokespeople quoted Rõivas as saying. "We agree with Sweden on the fact that Europe must develop its internal market, thus creating new opportunities for our businesses, as well as successfully bring to conclusion trade negotiations with Canada, the US, Japan and other economies sharing the same values."

On the subject of economic cooperation between Estonia and Sweden, Rõivas said Sweden had become Estonia's most important economic partner.

"Decisions made by several large Swedish companies to relocate their development operations to Estonia demonstrate that our knowledge-based business environment oriented to innovation is reliable and competitive," said the Estonian prime minister, adding that he saw great potential for the intensification of cooperation in the digital field as well.

"Sweden and Estonia are both highly developed information societies and it is in our common interest to stand up for the free movement of data being the fifth fundamental freedom of the EU," said Rõivas, calling on Sweden to support Estonia's aspirations to create a digital single market.

The two heads of government also discussed ensuring the energy security of the EU and interconnecting the Nordic and Baltic energy markets, addressing separately the need to diversify sources of energy as well.

"A common electricity market for Nordic and Baltic countries has been established," said Rõivas. "The next step will be linking the Baltic electricity systems to those of Europe, which is clearly in the interest of our security of supply."

On the subject of European security, the Estonian prime minister said that aggressive behavior on the part of Russia, including in the Baltic Sea region, demonstrated the importance of credible deterrence and close cooperation between NATO and the EU.

Prime Minister Rõivas is accompanied on his trip by a business delegation comprised of representatives of 31 Estonian businesses; the Estonian business delegation's visit to its western neighbor was planned in cooperation with Enterprise Estonia.

Sweden is the biggest foreign investor in Estonia and the most important destination for the Baltic country's exports. Swedish companies have invested a total of 4.5 billion euros into Estonia, accounting for more than 25 percent of foreign direct investments into the country. In September of this year, exports to Sweden accounted for 17 percent of Estonia's total exports.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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