“Latvians welcomed the fact with great sincerity that Jānis Cimze was praised and the folk song “Riga dimd!” arranged by him was performed during the Estonian Song Festival; thank you very much for such a tribute!”
In a warm and open conversation between the Presidents of Latvia and Estonia, Mr Egils Levits also congratulated the Estonian people on the 150th anniversary of the Song Festival tradition.
During tete-a-tete meeting, the Presidents emphasised the excellent and very active bilateral relations between Latvia and Estonia. Mr Levits stressed that the Latvian people would always be grateful to the Estonian soldiers who came to help in the Battle of Cēsis in 1919 fighting together for the freedom of our land. “Nowadays cooperation continues, because we, the two countries together, are developing the Headquarters Multinational Division North today,” stated the President of Latvia. The President of Latvia also mentioned Baltic defence co-operation within the framework of the Baltic Council of Ministers and the Baltic Assembly. In her turn, the President of Estonia welcomed Latvia’s allocation of 2% of GDP for defence spending in 2019.
During the conversation, the Presidents of Latvia and Estonia devoted much attention to the issues of climate change and the need for the Nordic and Baltic countries to work closely together in this area. The Presidents agreed that both the attention of the European population and the attention of the global community should be drawn to change their daily habits and mitigate climate change as much as possible. They also outlined that Latvia and Estonia would definitely be active during the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in expressing their stance on climate change.
Speaking about co-operation in international relations, the President of Latvia congratulated Estonia on its election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021 by stressing that Latvia would fully support Estonia’s priorities for work in this status.
Mr Egils Levits also spoke to Ms Kersti Kaljulaid about international law issues related to the challenges of the digital age and strengthening democracy. The Presidents of both countries agreed that this was a topical issue that should be discussed more at the presidential level by addressing issues of democracy, digital opportunity, and cybersecurity in international law.
The meeting focused on the future of digital cooperation. “As two digitally capable countries hosting two NATO Centres (STRATCOM and CyberDefence) dealing with information security issues, we will expand our co-operation by strengthening NATO in the digital age,” said Mr Egils Levits.
The two Presidents exchanged their views on current developments in the European Union. They also discussed the progress of the Rail Baltic project and the importance of synchronisation of the Baltic States grid.