President Kersti Kaljulaid was in Germany Tuesday, meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, where she discussed the Estonian e-state, Ukraine, Russia and spoke at a high-level conference.
The visit was the first stop-off on a three-nation set of official trips, which will take her to Slovenia and U.S. later this week.
President Kaljulaid was a keynote speaker at the “Day of German Industry” conference, the Federation of German Industries’ (BDI) main annual event, in Berlin, and met Merkel while there.
“Estonia’s experience in building up its e-state and implementing digital government is something that continues to attract interest from Europe and elsewhere. Our e-state is much bigger than our geographic and economic indicators would allow,” the president said, after meeting Chancellor Merkel, according to BNS.
The president emphasized the importance of both creating an enabling legislative environment, as well as public-private sector collaboration on joint solutions and achieving broad-based usability. She also highlighted the need to reassure the public that their data is better protected via an e-state than in an old-school paper world.
Both leaders emphasized the importance of Ukraine’s continued gravitation towards Europe, and the need to continue solving the conflict within the Normandy format, a diplomatic group of senior representatives from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.
“We must give a clear signal also, via the Eastern Partnership (EaP) program, that it is possible to move forward from the partnership if the country (i.e. Ukraine-ed.) makes sufficient progress and is successful with its reforms,” President Kaljulaid said, according to spokespersons.
President Kaljulaid also tied-in the issue with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), stressing the need to remain true to values in all cooperation formats.
The president recently criticized moves to bring Russian Federation fully back to the table at PACE. Russia is a member of the Council of Europe, but has had some voting rights suspended, after the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Next visits to Slovenia, U.S.
President Kaljulaid is in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on Wednesday, for a so-called Three Seas conference, bringing together Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria and Croatia, as well as Estonia.
On Thursday, she commences a working visit to the U.S., which includes events related to Estonia’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Voting starts at the UN headquarters in New York to determine the next holder of a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2020-2021. Estonia is up against Romania for the spot.