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Tunnel and digital discussed at the joint jubilee meeting between Estonian and Finnish Governments

In relation to the centenary of both countries, the Estonian and Finnish governments held a jubilee session, discussing transnational cooperation both in the establishment of physical and digital connections as well as in the field of culture and education.

As the first topic of the jubilee session, the governments discussed the establishment of physical connections between the countries. They discussed creating a transport corridor extending from the border of the Arctic Sea to Central Europe. As a part of this project, Estonia and Finland share the goal of establishing Rail Baltic by 2026. The governments acknowledged that in addition to Rail Baltic, the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel influences the trends of the 21st century in the region. It would not only be a part of the transport infrastructure – it would join the capitals of both countries and turn them into an international innovation centre, where close to two million people would live.

The development of the energy market was also discussed. Estonia and Finland want to work with Latvia and Lithuania to open the Eastern Baltic Sea gas distribution centre, which would be closely linked to the rest of the European Union’s internal energy market. By 2020, the countries wish to build a gas tunnel called Balticconnector, which would connect the Baltic and Finnish gas systems.

Another topic at the joint session was cooperation in the digital field, where one of the main issues is cross-border data exchange projects. Currently, digital data is exchanged via the X-road, but the exchange of data between the countries could be broader and include, for example, population and business registers, social security data, and digital receipts. It was also declared that the Estonian and Finnish governments would start exchanging data for free.

To strengthen the economic ties between the countries, the governments wish to develop a real-time economic environment, where cross-border economic transactions are reflected digitally. According to the calculations of the Deutsche Bank, a real-time economic environment would help save around 260 million euros annually in Europe. Estonia believes that our countries could be the pioneers in this area.

Cross-border cooperation is also sought in genomic research, which is made possible by genome centres established in both countries. Cooperation in this field will allow Estonia and Finland contribute to the initiative of the European Union for one million sequenced genomes, which, in turn, helps to promote personal medicine of the 21st century.

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