Jüri Ratas visits Finnish president in Helsinki

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö Source: Social Media

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) was in Helsinki Wednedsay, meeting Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Minister of Finance Katri Kulmun.

"Finland is our close friend, who we celebrate a hundred years of entering into diplomatic relations with this year," the Prime Minister said ahead of the visit, according to a government press release.

"A lot has changed since then. We are both in the EU now, and we stand together for the same values. Relations between our entrepreneurs and people have become more frequent every year. The economic life of the two countries is inextricably linked, and Finland currently has the largest community of Estonians living outside their home country. All this means meeting your neighbors regularly to discuss everyday issues and set targets," he continued.

Ratas and President Sauli Niinistö focussed on European foreign and security policy issues and moving forward with digital cooperation, as well as Estonia's aim to get observer status on the Arctic Council.

"I am pleased that the cooperation between Finland and NATO is working well. European security relies on good transatlantic relations," Ratas said, according to a later government press release, noting Finland's significance as a defense partner for Estonia.

One digital contact, Ratas noted the importance of improving data exchange between the two nations.

"As of last week, Estonian and Finnish business registers have been merged; we now have to work towards, for example, the population register or the sharing of health data, as agreed between the two countries," the Prime Minister went on.

"It is also very important that digital recipes can be used on both sides of the Gulf of Finland."

Ratas also talked bilateral relations and negotiating the EU's next long-term budget, whose negotiations start Thursday, with finance minister Katri Kulmun.

The Estonian premier also met with Finnish entrepreneurs key to Estonia, and will give a speech to representatives of the Estonian community in Finland.

An investors lunch organized by Enterprise Estonia saw 21 industrial and technology companies, investors and start-ups involved in or interested in investing in Estonia in attendance, with the focus of the meeting on improving opportunities for cooperation and business plans for the future.

"I am pleased that very different companies want to invest in Estonia and expand their activities here," Ratas said of that meeting.

"The main challenges we are familiar with are: finding a qualified workforce in Estonia, reducing bureaucracy and cooperation opportunities. We certainly got ideas for further developing the business environment," he went on.

Companies represented include Elisa, ABB, Tommi Mäkinen Racing, Nordea and the Estonian Foreign Investors Association.

Finland is Estonia's most important economic and trade partner, and the second largest source of direct investment. As of autumn 2019, 4,800 Finnish companies were registered on the Estonian Commercial Register, according to a government press release.

Ratas also attended a reception dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Estonian Community in Finland, at the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki, Wednesday evening.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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