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The President of the Republic met the Chairman of the Finnish Parliament

President Rüütel today at Kadriorg met with the Chairman of the Parliament of Finland, Paavo Lipponen. Their meeting addressed the relations between Finland and Estonia as well as the development of the Baltic Sea region.

According to the President of the Republic, the Estonian-Finnish cooperation was excellent both between the Governments and among people. The Estonian Head of State noted that the enlargement of the European Union definitely would create new preconditions and possibilities for a closer collaboration. President Rüütel said that both Finland's and Estonia's basic positions on the future of the European Union coincided and, thus, offered several opportunities of further cooperation.

They dealt more thoroughly with collaboration in developing the Baltic Sea region with regard to conservation, infrastructure and energy. According to the President of the Republic, the protection of the Baltic Sea environment was a matter of high importance for Estonia, and he had repeatedly put it forward in the international arena too. Paavo Lipponen added that this issue was very vital to Finland as well since Finland’s development was largely dependent on sea transport.

The meeting also addressed issues, which may arise during the transition period subsequent to Estonia's accession to the European Union, such as free movement of workers between Estonia and Finland. According to Mr Lipponen, Finland after the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union had to improve its competitiveness.

Also the need to strengthen the control of the external border of the European Union was under discussion.

President Rüütel thanked Paavo Lipponen for the moral and material support Finland over years had given to Estonia, and asked him to convey to the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, his greetings and words of gratitude for her recent pleasing visit to Estonia.

The Chairman of the Parliament of Finland congratulated the President of the Republic on Estonia’s decision to join the European Union and on the occasion that today it is two years since President Rüütel took office.

Office of the President
Kadriorg, October 8, 2003

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