The president of the European Parliament David-Maria Sassoli is visiting Estonia and met with President Kersti Kaljulaid, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and Speaker of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) on Friday, August 20.
Kaljulaid met with Sassoli at Toompea Castle, where the two discussed the strengths and responsibility of parliamentary democracies, Estonia's fast development over the past decades, but also the EU's enlargement and challenges at the union's borders.
"We are late joiners ourselves, which means it would be unfair to deny new countries from joining. Estonia is and will always be a supporter of EU enlargement policies," President Kersti Kaljulaid said, adding that the enlargement process must still require conditions be fulfilled.
The two spoke on occupations in Ukraine and Georgia, but also about tries for democracy in Belarus and hybrid attacks on the EU's eastern border.
Sassoli also met with Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas and Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. The prime minister said both Sassoli and her emphasized the importance of European unity and cohesion.
"Especially now, when so many international crises need to be solved. We focused on the hybrid attack organized by the Belarusian regime and the shocking events in Afghanistan and our opportunities to help alleviate human suffering there," Kallas said.
The prime minister noted that they also spoke about climate neutrality and investments toward eastern partners and Western Balkans to help maintain their European spirit.
Sassoli and Ratas spoke on the EU's COVID-19 recovery fund, which has allocated €3.3 billion to Estonia. Ratas gave Sassoli an overview of the digitalization of Estonia's public services, pointing out digital prescriptions and the e-services of the Tax and Customs Board. They also spoke about e-voting.
Sassoli also held a speech in the formal Riigikogu and August 20th Club sitting, in which he spoke about the state of democracy across the world. "Today, people working on building their own democracies look up to you. Your experience has shown that progress was nor easy neither quick. Democratic transformation takes years as so does the establishment of new institutions, procedures and the change of habits and mentality. You have done a remarkable thing, with tough reforms which surely impacted all in last three decades, you have become the most wired country on Earth and took leadership in e-government. I truly admire this transformation," the European Parliament president said.
Sassoli visited Latvia on Thursday and Lithuania on Wednesday.
Following the celebrations, I discussed the many important challenges facing Estonia and the whole of Europe with the President @KerstiKaljulaid, President of the @Riigikogu @ratasjuri, and Prime Minister @kajakallas. [3/3] pic.twitter.com/lHnuc2SWel— David Sassoli (@EP_President) August 20, 2021
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste