Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid on Monday, where he introduced to his Spanish counterpart the objectives and priorities of the upcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU and the two discussed other topical issues.
In addition to Estonia's upcoming EU presidency, the two heads of government also discussed opportunities for enhancing defense cooperation and issues related to the fight against terrorism, energy security as well as the implementation of the Paris Agreement, according to a government press release.
"Estonia and Spain have warm and dynamic bilateral relations: cultural relations are strong, tourism is developing and modern-looking CAF trams are a common sight in Tallinn," Ratas highlighted. "We also have good and constructive cooperation within the EU and NATO. We highly appreciate Spain's contributions to the security of our region, including participation in NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission at Ämari, as well as their participation in the operations of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE) and the Baltic Defence College (BALTDEFCOL)."
Spain took over NATO's Air Policing Mission from Germany in May of this year.
Presenting the priorities of the Estonian presidency of the EU, Ratas emphasized that, among other things, Estonia intends to continue the asylum system reform and focus on the Eastern Partnership. "The EU's security and prosperity benefit from a stable neighborhood — therefore we consider cooperation with our eastern and southern partners paramount," he stressed, adding that Estonia will contribute to the EU's misions in Palestine and the Mediterranean region.
The Estonian prime minister acknowledged Spain's achievements in implementing recent economic reforms that have helped the country recover from the economic crisis and reduce unemployment. "Reforms that support competitivenes are a source of growth for the EU," he said. "Priorities of the Estonian presidency — the development of the European energy and capital markets as well as the signle digital market — provide additional impetus for economic growth."
Ratas also invited Rajoy to a summit focusing on the opportunities and challenges of an information society scheduled for Sept. 29 in Tallinn.
Following his subsequent visit to Lisbon, Ratas is scheduled to return to Estonia on Tuesday morning.
Editor: Aili Vahtla