Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu in Bucharest ahead of the upcoming Estonian presidency of the EU, with whom he discussed the future of the EU and other issues of importance to both countries.
Ratas emphasized that relations between Estonia and Romania are very good and that the two countries' views are similar. "We value the contribution of Romania as a partner in Baltic Air Policing and in developing the NATO missile defense system in Europe," he said, adding that both the internal development of defense and events within the area are important to the security of Europe. The fact that Romanian defense spending has reached the two-percent benchmark demonstrates firm commitment to the protection of common values, he noted.
"Keeping Europe united and decisive is a very fundamental target for Estonia during its presidency," Ratas stated when speaking of the priorities of Estonia's upcoming presidency of the EU. Estonia wants to strengthen and support Europe with an open and innovative economy, preserve the security of Europe, promote a digital Europe together with the free flow of data and ensure that the activities of the EU are inclusive and sustainable as well.
The Estonian prime minister also said that Romanian-Estonian cooperation also has great potential in the ICT field, noting that Romania has an excellent digital infrastructure and that the ICT sectors of both countries are developing rapidly. Ratas also highlighted that the recent opening of mutual embassies had given remarkable momentup to opportunities for bilateral economic cooperation and the development of business. There is also great potential in the field of tourism, and there is a plan for cooperation in aviation.
The celebration of the Estonian and Romanian centennials next year likewise has deep symbolic meaning and will provide opportunities to mutually introduce each nation's history and culture to the other. Ratas also noted Estonia's support for Romania's accession to the Schengen Area.
Ratas emphasized that promoting the Eastern Partnership was one of the most important topics of the Estonian presidency. "We welcome Romania's wish to contribute to the Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership (ECEAP) in Tallinn," he said.
The Estonian prime minister believed that common efforts are the key to the successful future of the EU. "We are still facing several challenges, such as the refugee crisis originating quite close by, boosting the European economy and the destructive intervention of Russia in neighboring countries," he cited. "The recent terrorist attack in Manchester alo reminded us that the fight against terrorim is the common responsibility of us all."
The head of government of the incoming EU presidency typically visits a number of member states beforehand in order to present and promote the priorities and program of their country's presidency and discuss opportunities for closer cooperation.
On this trip, Ratas has visited Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hugary. He is scheduled to return to Estonia on Wednesday afternoon.
Editor: Aili Vahtla