Latvian, Estonian presidents discuss economic, defense cooperation
President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid and President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis met in Estonia on Tuesday, where they agreed to work on strengthening the two countries’ economic ties and discussed security- and defense-related concerns, emphasizing the importance of NATO members dedicating two percent of their GDP to defense spending.
The two presidents, who both took part in the opening of the expanded birch plywood plant owned by OÜ Kohila Vineer, an Estonian subsidiary of the Latvian Latvijas Finieris Group, noted that the expansion of the Kohila plant was evidence of the practical cooperation between Estonia and Latvia’s businesses.
Vējonis and Kaljulaid also discussed topical foreign policy matters, including the development of the two countries’ relations with the incoming administration of the US. Both leaders agreed that it was too soon to assess if and how the Baltic states’ and all of Europe’s relations with the US may change following the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
"The decisions made at this year’s NATO Warsaw summit to bring multinational battalions to the Baltic states and Poland are a solid basis for believing that the strengthening of global security is a priority for the US," said Vējonis.
The two Baltic heads of state also discussed Estonia and Latvia’s own cooperation in NATO and stressed the importance of the principle that all NATO member states dedicate two percent of their GDP to defense spending.
Also discussed at their brief meeting were Europe’s security situation, the Eastern Partnership as well as the future of the Rail Baltic project.
Vējonis traveled to Estonia for a brief visit on Tuesday in which he attended the opening of the expanded plywood plant in Kohila, met with the President of Estonia and attended a reception for local Latvians organized by the Latvian Ambassador in honor of Latvia’s approaching Independence Day.