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President Ilves in Riga: Latvia’s success is also Estonia’s success

President Ilves in Riga: Latvia’s success is also Estonia’s success © Andres Putting (Delfi)


"Estonia has no other neighbour that we understand as well as we understand Latvia. We have been connected by Livonia and we share a common history, but what's even more important is that we share a common future in Europe and the euro area," told the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, at his meeting with Latvian Head of State, Andris Bērziņš.

President Ilves, who arrived in Riga today, began a three-day state visit to the Republic of Latvia.

The Estonian Head of State recalled the armoured trains of the War of Independence, where Estonians and Latvians fought side-by-side for the freedom of their countries. He also recalled that in the very same way – by train – the first Latvian Head of State, Jānis Čakste, came to Estonian in 1925, saying back then: the closeness between Estonia and Latvia cannot be just words and ceremonies; this has to be encoded into each Latvian and Estonian to make it survive all the storms.

"We have helped each other and been mutually good partners, sometimes also competitors. Today, Estonia is strongly supporting Latvia's pursuits to access the euro area, which of course assumes compliance with all the Maastricht criteria," told President Ilves. "This is quite possible, as over the last couple of years Latvia has set the example of being responsible to a number of former euro area countries with questionable economic futures."

It is important to believe in one's country, Europe and the euro area; belonging to these organisations usually means economic stability, security and general self confidence for countries that are abiding by the rules, emphasised the Estonian Head of State.

"In economic terms, Latvia and Estonia are large countries for each other, as our entrepreneurs have very good mutual business relations," told President Ilves. "Therefore, Latvia's success is also Estonia's success, as the good progress of Estonia depends on your good progress and vice versa."

According to the Estonian Head of State, today's joint ventures of two neighbouring countries should be channelled into realistic projects.

"Baltic co-operation, if this is meant to be more than just a slogan, assumes a contribution to realistic infrastructural projects or investments into joint projects, which can be measured in money and really improve the lives of our citizens, fusing us in both a physical and economic sense," told President Ilves. "Our co-operation needs to be specifically channelled into common transport and energy projects that also involve the other European Union Member States, and into enhancing security in the region in general."

President Ilves and Mrs. Evelin Ilves gave the Latvian Head of State a watercolour by artist Valli Lember-Bogatkina, "Cesis" and to her wife, Dace Seisuma, a silver brooch and ear-rings, made by jewel artist Anneli Tammik.

During the state visit, President Ilves will also meet with the Speaker of Latvian Parliament, Solvita Aboltina, Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, and Mayor of Riga, Nils Ušakovs, open an Estonian-Latvian business forum, participate in a discussion of opinion leaders, visit an Estonian school in Riga and visit areas inhabited by Livonians in Courland.

The Estonian Head of State will host a reception on a Tallinn ship, Silja Festival, which is travelling on the Riga-Stockholm line.

President Ilves is accompanied by a 22 member business delegation.

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