Gallery: Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina visits Estonia

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Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina visited Estonia on November 8, 2023.
Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina visited Estonia on November 8, 2023. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina made her first official visit to Estonia on Wednesday and discussed region security, domestic munitions production, and joint military procurement with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform).

At a joint press conference, the prime ministers discussed language policies in each country, rail baltic and the launching of the Tartu-Riga train line, gas supplies and Balticconnector, support for Ukraine, and regional security.

Asked by ERR about Latvia's plans to start a domestic munitions industry to boost the EU's defense industry, Silina said a "national joint-style company" will likely be established.

"Our political stance is that we would like to develop our own military industry but in cooperation with other European member states and our neighbors," she said.

"It seems that this is the road we will be taking, we will be establishing as such a production plant in Latvia, by cooperating with other member states we will participate in the chain and we will be able to obtain raw materials from other member states." 

The Latvian prime minister was also asked to access recent joint procurements with Estonia for the medium-range air defense systems IRIS-T and military vehicles. She called them a "great achievement for the security of both countries".

"It facilitates a faster improvement of the security situation in both countries. It is obvious that individually both of us want to ensure proper defense but it would be more expensive if we did it alone and the process would be much slower," Silina said.

"If we participate in joint procurements it shows we are united and it shows that in the future we can use this approach for other needs."

Additionally, the prime ministers agreed to organize a joint government session next year.

Silina also met Riigikogu speaker Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) and discussed Baltic cooperation.

Watch the press conference below with simultaneous English translation.

Pevkur: Baltic defense cooperation will deepen

Andris Spruds and Hanno Pevkur on November 8, 2023. Source: Minister of Defense.

The Latvian Minister of Defense Andris Spruds also visited Estonia on Wednesday.

He met with Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur (Reform) and the ministers discussed regional security and bilateral defense cooperation during his visit.

"We have considerably strengthened both our bilateral and regional cooperation because together we can do more. The defense cooperation between Estonia and Latvia is good in many areas, and in the future, I only see the deepening of this relationship," Pevkur said.

Joint procurements and domestic munitions production were also raised. "During the meeting, we also discussed cooperation opportunities for the development of the military industry in the region," Spruds said.

Next year, Latvia will host NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission while Estonia's Ämari Air Base undergoes renovation work.

This article was updated to add comments from Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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