Prime Ministers from Finland and Estonia meet

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Thursday, May 5, 2005

During the first meeting between new Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen they praised the strong relations between their countries, and spoke on how to expand their cooperation.

One topic under discussion was a 2003 report written by two "wise men" (former Bank of Finland director Esko Ollila and Estonia’s current Minister of Defence Jaak Jõeruut), regarding closer cooperation. Within the report were 43 suggestions for closer dealings.

On the economic front, discussion occurred on the Finnish one year "interim" period limiting citizens of the new EU countries access to Finnish labour markets. It is the opinion of Estonia that it goes against the principles of the EU.

In education and science, the Estonian PM commented that,"Experience that Estonians have picked up in Finland has been important. For instance, Finnish television taught Estonians about the market economy already in the Soviet period." Further cooperation between Finnish and Estonian universities for research was discussed.

Ansip made several comments regarding the recent Victory Day celebrations in Moscow. He commented that relations between Estonia and Russia should not be harmed by Estonian President Arnold Rüütel not attending the celebrations. He also stated that "We are waiting for the invitation", to sign a border treaty with Russia.