Finnish prime minister Juha Sipilä visited his Estonian colleague on Saturday for a day of meetings and celebrations on the occasion of the two counties' centenaries, Estonia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union, and at least some business as usual, including a football match between the heads of government and their staff.
Ratas described the relationship between Estonia and Finland as exceptionally good.
"Good relations build on historical ties, and now we have reached a stage where the labor markets of Estonia and Finland are practically intertwined and nine million trips across the Gulf of Finland are made per year. The celebration of the jubilees of both countries brings our people closer together still," Ratas said, referring to the fact that both Finland and Estonia are celebrating their centenaries this and next year.
Ratas mentioned the project work on the coming Rail Baltic project, in which projected trade volumes coming from Finland play an important role. "Rail Baltic offers opportunities to Finnish businesses already in the design and construction phases and favors economic growth in general," Ratas said, adding that Estonia welcomed the interest of Finland to take part in the project.
The meeting in Tallinn was held to discuss bilateral relations, celebrations of Estonia 100 and Finland 100, challenges related to the future of the European Union, and to present the priorities of the Estonian presidency of the EU Council.
"Our general aim is to strengthen the unity of the EU in the difficult times. It doesn't come as a surprise for anyone that we will focus also on developing digital Europe. That is a horizontal topic interwoven into the agendas of all councils," Ratas said. "At the same time, we must address challenges having to do with energy connections, migration, climate and security, which requires a good cooperative spirit and determination."
Ahead of the meeting, a Finnish and an Estonian football team made up of the countries' government6 office staff and captained by the two prime ministers met for a match at Shnelli pitch, just a stone's throw away from Tallinn's old town.
After the meeting, the prime ministers were scheduled to take part in a business seminar titled "Productivity Brainstorm" hosted by the Sorainen law office.
The day ended with a concert in Tallinn's Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak) celebrating the Republic of Finland's first 100 years, opened by the heads of government.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Source: BNS, ERR