Minister: Estonia, Latvia must deal together with energy crisis

Urmas Reinsalu and Edgars Rinkēvičs in Valga/Valka, Friday, September 9 2022.
Urmas Reinsalu and Edgars Rinkēvičs in Valga/Valka, Friday, September 9 2022. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

A focus on security and unity in working together to arrest the continued rise in energy prices, along with an unwavering support for the defense of Ukraine, are vital interests for both Estonia and Latvia, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) says.

This also means alternatives to Russian-sourced energy must be fully in place as soon as possible.

Speaking Friday at a bilateral meeting with his Latvian counterpart Edgars Rinkēvičs in the border town of Valga, Reinsalu said: "Our priority is finding alternative natural gas supply options through Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, developing renewable energy and taking measures needed for making sure our people can cope in this sudden and painful energy crisis," adding that plans are in place to complete the synchronization of electricity networks with "mainland" Europe, by 2025.

This would ensure full decoupling from dependence on energy of Russian origin, while: "At the same time we must raise the price of the aggression so it becomes unbearable for Russia by imposing new, more severe sanctions, isolating Russia internationally and providing weapons aid to Ukraine," the foreign minister continued.

Ukraine must be given every assistance until it has won the current conflict, Reinsalu stressed.

A new Estonia-Latvia cross-border cooperation report is also needed, Reinsalu added, as: "The last report was completed over 10 years ago, and in light of the pivotal crises of the past years and the transformed security situation now is a good time to look to the future together and set some common goals for a more efficient cooperation on the regional and international level."

In addition to bilateral and cross-border cooperation, energy security and crisis preparedness, and Ukraine's defense, Reinsalu and Rinkēvičs also discussed the development of the digital domain, infrastructure and cultural cooperation.

The Latvian and Estonian Language Promotion Award was also presented at Friday's event, which also saw a seminar held.

 The visionary report on the cooperation of Estonia and Latvia was presented by the foreign ministers and the authors of the report, ERR's Latvia correspondent Ragnar Kond and Latvian diplomat Janis Eichmanis at the seminar in Valga, while Kristi Raik, Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute, moderated the panel, which can also be viewed in its entirety here.

Valga is twinned with Valka, on the Latvian side of the border – the two towns are effectively the same settlement, and while the Estonian-Latvian border drawn up in 1920 and adjudicated on by British civil servant S. G. Tallents separated them, cross-border movement has been the norm for local residents, even during the Covid pandemic.

Estonia's LNG terminal at Paldiski is due for completion by year-end.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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