Prime minister: Estonia-Spain relations better than ever

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Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez with his Estonian counterpart Kaja Kallas during the traditional Stenbock House viewing platform walkabout Tuesday. Source: Government Office

Estonia-Spain relations are at their zenith, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Tuesday, during a meeting with Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sanchez.

Kallas said that: "Never before has there been such close communication between Estonia and Spain. [These] links also need to be maintained in the future."

"We share the same values ​​and are united by a similar mindset on most key EU and international issues," she said, adding a similar approach to innovation and the environment to this list.

The pair also talked about migration and defense issues.

Kallas thanked Sanchez for Spain's contribution to the NATO Baltic air policing mission based at Ämari, which the Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire) has taken part in in the past and which Kallas said she hoped to welcome back in the future.

Kallas also noted that Spain was a founder member of the Tallinn-based Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE), adding that Spain's aid on the alliance's eastern frontier was reciprocated by Estonia's help on its southern European border.

She said: "Estonia is interested in the stability of Europe's southern neighborhood, and is also committed to promoting security there. Estonia takes part in a training mission in Mali, together with Spain," referring to the French-led Operation Barkhane, towards which Estonia contributes an infantry platoon and other personnel.

Kallas added that the Sanchez visit was proof positive of the continuation of high-level visits between the two countries.

When discussing migration issues, Kallas said that, unfortunately, Europe is increasingly seeing migration being used as a political weapon. "I also raised the call that we need to focus more on the eastern neighborhood at the level of European leaders," the prime minister said.

Kallas also said she wished the Spanish football team well in Tuesday night's European football championships semi-final clash with Italy, to no avail, as it transpired.

Sanchez is on a two-day visit to Estonia.

Kaljulaid, Sanchez discuss security

President Kersti Kaljulaid and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Source: Office of the President.

President Kersti Kaljulaid and Pedro Sanchez discussed the security situation in both the Baltic Sea region and Africa at a meeting in Kadriorg on Wednesday.

The pair discussed the situation in Ukraine and sub-Saharan Africa, where the coronavirus has strongly affected local economies and where Estonian troops in Mali and the Sahel are operating together with Spain.

The president reaffirmed Estonia's 360-degree contribution to shaping the stability of the areas south of Europe.

"It is by being physically present on the ground that we can best understand what is at stake and what we stand for together," she said.

The issues of EU enlargement were also discussed at length, and according to the head of state, a solid framework must be established for those countries that want to approach the European Union.

"We stand for the right of every country to choose its path according to the Helsinki Final Act," Kaljulaid said.

Sanchez also met with President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas.

Editor's note: This article was updated to add quotes from President Kersti Kaljuaid.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Helen Wright

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