Estonian MPs discuss Ukraine and Russia with Finnish Foreign Minister and President
Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee met with their peers from the Finnish Eduskunna, Eduskunna's deputy chair Pekka Ravi and the Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja on a two-day working visit in Helsinki. The committees and the minister discussed the security situation and relations with Russia.
Ravi acknowledged the close cooperation between the Estonian and Finnish foreign affairs committees.
"Our views on defense policy are more similar than ever before. We must be prepared to face difficulties with Russia," said Marko Mihkelson, chair of the Estonian Foreign Affairs Committee.
Both countries agreed that communication lines and diplomatic channels with Russia must be kept open but it is important to adhere to one's own values in the process.
The delegations also discussed the effect of the Ukraine conflict on regional security. "We need to give a European perspective to Ukraine but, at the same time, have to constantly remind them to start with the reforms as soon as possible and not postpone them to unforeseeable future," Mihkelson said.
The Finnish Foreign Affairs Committee said that all the parliamentary parties support the continuation of the sanctions against Russia.
The members of the Estonian delegations also met with President Sauli Niinistö and the Finnish foreign minister, with whom they discussed the situation with ISIS in the Near East and the Ukraine conflict.
President Niinistö told to Finnish media this week that if Finland were to join NATO, it would not be viewed by Russia in the same way as Norway, but would rather be seen in the same light as former members of the eastern European bloc that are now part of the Western alliance.
According to the President, when speaking of the idea of Finland joining NATO, the use of the term "option" is not correct, but even so, he stated that Finland has reason to keep open the possibility of filing an application for membership, Finnish broadcasting company Yle reported on Friday.