The prime ministers of Estonia and Finland reiterated their support for the strong relationship between the two countries at a press conference in Tallinn on Friday.
The press conference held at Stenbock House in Tallinn marked Sanna Marin's first visit to Estonia as prime minister of Finland.
The meeting focused on bilateral relations, transport and energy connections between the two countries, the security situation in the Middle East, and issues related to the future of the European Union.
Ratas said: "I am very pleased to welcome my colleague today. The friendship between Estonia and Finland is strong and timeless, something we want to develop."
He stressed the bilateral cooperation between Estonia and Finland is constantly deepening. "Our joint efforts have led to us hopefully being able to use digital prescriptions on both sides of the Gulf of Finland soon. We are working towards further improving the data exchange between the different registers of Estonia and Finland," he said.
The prime ministers confirmed they both support the European Union's goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and the advancement of the Green Deal. "The next long-term budget must contribute to the achievement of climate goals and it is therefore important that its overall volume does not decrease compared to the current period," said Ratas.
Marin said: "We want to promote an ambitious climate policy for the EU, and I look forward to good cooperation in this area with Estonia and other like-minded countries."
When asked by ERR how Marin, a member of the Social Democratic Party, balances an ambitious environmental program with her government's policy of ensuring the well-being of people, she said the welfare state needs to be made climate-friendly as well.
"It is very important for us that a society that is sustainable in terms of climate change can be realized in a way that is also socially and regionally equitable. This means that the fight against climate change is not paid for by ordinary and low-income people, society would benefit economically through entrepreneurship and technological development," said Marin.
Marin and Ratas also addressed the situation in the Middle East. Ratas said: "Members of our defence forces are in Iraq to support and train the local security forces, and attacks against them must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Tensions should be quickly alleviated. We are working to keep the guns silent and the diplomats talking."
Marin said: "The security of the international peacekeeping forces must be ensured and efforts must be made to defuse the situation and establish a dialogue."
At a meeting before the press conference, the prime ministers exchanged views on Russia and Ukraine. They noted that the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented before there can be significant changes in relations with Russia.
Their discussion also highlighted the importance of environmental protection in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic.
There was also talk of the expansion of the European Union and future relations with the United Kingdom after Brexit. The prime ministers also discussed matters of regional security.
Editor: Helen Wright