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Estonian and Norwegian prime minister extol close bilateral cooperation

12.10.2011

Tallinn, Stenbock House, 12 October 2011 – Discussions between Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip earlier today centred on bilateral economic relations, energy cooperation and joint action for overcoming the debt crisis in Europe.

Prime Minister Ansip expressed hope at the meeting that the Estonia’s more than 400 companies based on Norwegian capital would continue to enjoy success and expand their operations even further.

“Estonia is a good, secure environment in which to do business, as attested to by the fact that trade between our two countries increases each year. It is also a joy to note that more and more Norwegians are discovering Estonia as an attractive tourist destination. Last year, 40,000 Norwegians visited Estonia. This year the number already stands at close to 30,000,” said Ansip.

Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg said the fact that Norway was not a member of the EU was in no way an obstacle to bilateral relations either at the political level or with regard to economic issues.

“The close relations between our countries in the Nordic and Baltic networks, Baltic Sea regional cooperation and the Europe’s free trade area is a superb example of countries getting along,” said Stoltenberg.

The head of government singled out Estonia’s decision to join the Nordic countries’ single power exchange, NordPool. “From our experience, we can say that for Norway, this decision increased the profitability of the investments made into the energy sector and the effectiveness of the entire system. If the common energy market is to function even better, we must establish additional network connections. To sum up, this will guarantee even greater reliability of supply for consumers.”

Stoltenberg offered assistance to Estonia in establishing the planned liquefied natural gas terminal in the Baltic region and affirmed Norwegian companies were interested in participation in the project.

In discussing the European debt crisis, the prime ministers declared jointly that the best way of staving off a recession is to make trade relations even closer and to incentivize investments in each other’s country.

Ansip thanked Norway for the support it gave Estonia in the framework of the EEA Agreement and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. The assistance from 2009-2014 made up 48.6 million euros, which is being used to fund various culture, social and infrastructure projects.

In the afternoon, Prime Ministers Stoltenberg and Ansip opened the Norwegian-Estonian business seminar, which focuses on the experience of Norwegian firms operating in Estonia in the field of energy and shipping, and corporate social responsibility.

The relations between Estonia and Norway are characterized by close cooperation in the field of the economy, culture and national defence. Among other things, the good economic relations between Estonia and Norway are characterized by the relatively large trade volume, and the fact that the tempo is picking up. Last year Norway ranked ninth among Estonia’s foreign partners and trade volume grew 43 percent during the year.

The Norwegian Prime Minister’s one-day visit to Estonia will conclude with a meeting with President of the Republic Toomas Hendrik Ilves.

Photographs of the meeting can be viewed on the Government Office website
http://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/pildialbum#1432-1

The recording of the press conference following the meeting of the Estonian and Norwegian Prime Ministers can be viewed athttp://www.valitsus.ee/et/uudised/videod#3042

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