President Ilves: Europe needs more Germany (14)
Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves who concluded his four-day state visit to the country, said that Europe needs the example set by Germany – its leading role in upholding the finances of Europe and foreign policies.
Ilves said that Germany is the embodiment of political reason in democratic Europe. “Today's Germany combines moral values and determination and hides the source of Europe's competitiveness."
He described the attempts of Chancellor Merkel to put an end to the bloodshed in Eastern Ukraine as remarkable. At the same time, the European Union has remained united in its stance at observing the economic sanctions against Russia. "Germany has been the engine for integration and we need more of this solid confidence in Europe. In particular, Europe now needs solidarity and responsibility through compliance with both financial discipline and the jointly established rules in both foreign and security policy, and in standing for our shared values," Ilves said.
President was accompanied by a 42-strong Estonian business delegation and connections between Estonia's digital economy and German industry were sought.
Germany is Estonia's second-largest trade partner and according to Ilves, the ambitious Industry 4.0 program of Germany has the potential to become one of the focal points of economic relations between the two countries, allowing to combine the IT solutions developed in Estonia and the German industrial muscle.
The Estonian delegation visited the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where the local Minister of Economy, Transport and Technology Reinhard Meyer expressed interest in industrial biotechnology solutions developed in Estonia and in exploring the possible implementation of these solutions in Germany. According to one Estonian businessman, this would be an alternative for today's biofuels and replace chemical products derived from oil by using German grain and sugar beet.
The delegation members paid a visit to the 350-year-old University of Kiel, which has University of Tartu (UT) among its partner universities. UT Rector Volli Kalm, accompanying the president, said that research co-operation and student exchange between the two universities should be further developed. "Gene technology, clinical trials, biology, medical sciences or life sciences in general – these are the strengths of both universities.”
The GEOMAR ocean research center, which is an important partner for Estonian scientists in the Baltic Sea studies, was also inspected.
During his state visit to Germany, President Ilves met with German President Joackim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, among others.
"All these meetings between friends were open and frank. Estonia and Germany have a similar understanding of Europe and the world in general, and even if there are some differences, these will only serve to make our related discussions more substantial and our co-operation stronger," the president said.