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Swiss president on one-day visit to Estonia

Swiss president Doris Leuthard and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) in Tallinn, Apr. 10, 2017.
Swiss president Doris Leuthard and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) in Tallinn, Apr. 10, 2017. Source: (Riigikantselei)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) met with Swiss president Doris Leuthard on Monday. In their meeting they discussed relations between the European Union and Switzerland, matters connected with the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU, bilateral relations, and Estonia’s upcoming presidency of the EU council.

After a 2014 vote that called to restrict immigration, negotiations between the Swiss government and the European Commission reached an impasse. After a meeting of Leuthard and EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, it was announced that negotiations could continue.

Ratas said he was glad that bilateral cooperation would continue, and that there had been progress in the negotiations of free movement of people between Switzerland and the EU. “Switzerland is an important partner of the European Union, we share common values and goals. Because of this it is particularly important to continue this relationship with a positive rhythm, and to move towards coming to an agreement,” the prime minister added.

The prime minister pointed out the growing exchange of goods and growing investment in each other’s markets, and thanked Leuthard for the countries’ good work in the Estonian-Swiss Cooperation Programme.

Ratas also invited Switzerland to join the NATO Cyber Defence Center of Excellence in Tallinn, and underlined the importance of international cooperation in that field.

According to the prime minister, there is plenty of room for development in the two countries’ relations regarding information and communication technology. Ratas confirmed that Estonian experts and companies were ready to share their expertise and experience in the ICT field with Switzerland.

Ratas gave Leuthard an overview of the upcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union. “Our goal is to keep the EU united and capable of making decisions, concentrating on the safe, digital, and inclusive development of Europe, with an open and innovative economy,” Ratas said.

Leuthard also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE), Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Kadri Simson (Center), and President Kersti Kaljulaid. She will also be given a tour of Tallinn, and visit the e-Estonia Showroom in the afternoon.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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