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The President of the Republic met the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain

The President of the Republic met the Lord High Chancellor of Great BritainThe President of the Republic today met with the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, Lord Irvine of Lairg. At their meeting, among other topics bilateral relations between Estonia and Great Britain, Estonian agriculture and Estonia’s pending accession to the European Union were under discussion.

President Rüütel expressed delight that Great Britain over decades had supported Estonia – not only in our War of Independence but also during the restoration of the independence and our preparations to join the European Union and NATO.

Lord Irvine took interest in how the accession to the European Union and concomitant subsidies might influence Estonia’s thus-far liberal agriculture. The President of the Republic assured that farming aids, no doubt, would affect the Estonian's attitudes towards the European Union positively, and indicated that Estonia's niche could be organic farming. According to the Lord High Chancellor, also the European Union in future intended to pay more heed than so far to organic farming.

During their meeting, also preservation of national identity in the European Union was touched upon. In President Rüütel's words, this was a matter of concern for Estonia and good breeding ground for eurosceptics. The Lord Chancellor confirmed that there were very many countries in Europe, Great Britain among them, exemplifying that there was no reason for concern.

The President of the Republic opined that, as to our accession to the European Union, a lot depended on decisions of the European Convention: we wished the equality of big and small countries to be guaranteed in the European Union. The Lord Chancellor assured that Great Britain was confident that the rights of independent Member States of the European Union should be preserved.

President Rüütel met the Lord Chancellor also during his working visit to Great Britain in the year 2002. Lord Chancellor Irvine will stay in Estonia until Friday afternoon meeting also with Estonian Prime Minister, Minister of Justice, Legal Chancellor, and Chairwoman of the Riigikogu. The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain is the head of judicial system, a Cabinet Minister and the Speaker of the House of Lords.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 22, 2003

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