New Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics makes first visit to Estonia

Edgars Rinkevics made his first foreign visit as president of Latvia to Estonia on July 10, 2023.
Edgars Rinkevics made his first foreign visit as president of Latvia to Estonia on July 10, 2023. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Latvian President Edgars Rinkevics visited Estonia on Monday on his foreign trip abroad. He met with President Alar Karis, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) and other officials.

Rinkevics discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation, regional cooperation projects, continued support and reconstruction efforts for Ukraine, and the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius.

The president said both Estonia and Latvia set an example to other NATO Allies.

"I think that both of our countries are leaders and champions when it comes to military assistance to Ukraine. We have passed the [2] percent of GDP mark quite a long time ago already, but think it is very important that we continue urging other members of NATO, the European Union, and like-minded nations to do more. Second, I do hope that the NATO summit in Vilnius will be a successful one when it comes to outlining a clear way for Ukraine to become a member of NATO when conditions allow it," Rinkevics said at a press conference.

Karis said Estonian-Latvian cooperation is more effective than ever before.

"We have learned to better coordinate cooperation, organize joint procurements, help each other. But we also have close cooperation in other areas — we can create more connections in the field of energy, transport and digital infrastructure," he said.

As examples, he highlighted Rail Baltic, the desynchronization of the Baltic electricity grids, and the ELWIND offshore wind farm project which will be built in the Gulf of Riga.

"However, we can cooperate even more so that the connections between us are better so that we do not remain an isolated peninsula in Europe," Karis said.

Rinkevics was sworn in as president on Saturday (July 8). Previously, he spent 11 years acting as Latvia's foreign minister and made numerous visits to Estonia during that time.

Watch the press conference below.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

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