President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas met with Speaker of the National Assembly of Hungary in Budapest on Thursday and said it was time for Estonia to cooperate more with Central Europe.
Põlluaas said Estonia and Hungary were united by related languages and close cultural cooperation, and the two countries had always had excellent relations.
He said: "So far, Estonia has looked more towards Western Europe, but it is time to turn our attention also to Central Europe, and to the Visegrád countries."
Cooperation possibilities in security issues as well as in economy and culture were discussed with his Hungarian counterpart.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Enn Eesmaa agreed that the future cooperation between the two countries could be more coordinated at the parliamentary level.
He emphasised that both Estonia and Hungary should be more active in the Eastern Partnership programme. "The countries we are thinking and speaking about – Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine – certainly wish that," Eesmaa said.
Member of the National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu Madis Milling welcomed Hungary's decision to increase defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024.
"Hungary is also replacing the Soviet equipment and weapons that have remained in the country from the time of the Warsaw Pact with newer and more modern technology and weapons that completely conform to NATO standards," Milling added.
This week, Põlluaas is on a visit to Budapest at the invitation of the Speaker of the Parliament of Hungary. The purpose of the visit is to promote bilateral relations and learn about the latest developments in Hungary.
Editor: Helen Wright