President Ilves Focuses on Euro Area Crisis During Finland Visit
“If we want to maintain the European Union and the euro area, we must insist that all the European Union member states follow the established rules; this is the only way to ensure the stability and sustainable development of the EU,” said President Ilves, who arrived in Finland today for a working visit. He met with President of Finland Tarja Halonen, Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Erkki Tuomioja.
According to the Estonian head of state, one of the cornerstones of the good relations between Estonia and Finland is close co-operation on European issues. “We share concerns and understanding regarding the future of the European Union and the euro area,” said President Ilves.
At today’s meetings, President Ilves emphasised that apart from common problems arising from the financial crisis in the euro area, we are also linked by close co-operation between the Baltic Sea countries. The Estonian president acknowledged the importance of the Baltic Sea Strategy of the European Union, as this notably influences the region’s policies regarding the environment and competitiveness. “It is important to maintain political focus on the Baltic Sea Strategy of the European Union, especially as we consider the budget of the European Union for 2014–2020. At present, we need to decide how to proceed – how do we perceive its future and how could the strategy’s action plan be updated in such a way that it could be construed as a realistic foundation for planning the budgetary means of the European Union,” stated President Ilves, who was one of the founders of the Baltic Sea Strategy during his term as a member of the European Parliament.
President Ilves invited Finland to increase co-operation within the sphere of cyber defence and added that Estonia welcomes every step that Finland takes in the direction of trans-Atlantic security co-operation. “I am pleased that Finland has expressed its intent to become involved in the NATO Centre of Excellence for Co-operative Cyber Defence. As I have previously emphasised, Estonia, Finland and Sweden could pool their resources in cyber defence matters and pursue common issues within the European Union,” President Ilves asserted.
The visit to Finland is the second foreign visit for President Ilves since he began his second term in office by taking an oath of office in the Riigikogu on 10 October, and the visit is to emphasise the importance and closeness of relations between Estonia and Finland. Five years ago, when first elected to office, Toomas Hendrik Ilves also made one of his first foreign visits to Finland.
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