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The President of the Republic met with the President of France

The President of the Republic met with the President of FrancePresident Arnold Rüütel this evening in Paris at the Elysée Palace met with French President Jacques Chirac.

The Heads of State expressed satisfaction with the current state of Estonian-French relations, yet observed at the same time that after the enlargement of the European Union our contacts, including those at the intergovernmental level, definitely needed to be strengthened. President Chirac assured that the French people had interest in and sympathy with both Estonia and the other Baltic States. He voiced hope that the results of EU referendum in Estonia would turn out positive.

The French Head of State professed to have personally urged his country's bigger enterprises to invest in Estonia, in the hope, that this would encourage smaller enterprises to follow their example. According to the President, France intended to continuously promote contacts with Estonia.

Talking about agriculture, the two Heads of State noted that the Estonian and French positions had a lot in common, and this, too, encouraged us to work closer together in the EU. President Rüütel spoke highly of France’s endeavours to keep internal balance in society, say, through continuity of generations in the countryside. Also President Chirac noted that it was essential to preserve the rural environment, just like effective production, too.

At the meeting, also the relationship between the European Union and Russia was touched upon, in which, in the estimation of the French President, Estonia – while helping accelerate the development of these relations - had an important role to play.

Summarising the talks, the Presidents noted that Estonia and France had similar ambitions as to both shaping the future of the European Union and relations with the new neighbours of the European Union, in the first place with Russia. The Presidents said that it was vital to strengthen cultural and economic relations between our two countries, however, it was no lesser important to intensify our political dialogue.

President Rüütel thanked France for its support to Estonia’s admission to the UN and accession to NATO, and invited the French President to visit Estonia.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 27, 2003

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