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Estonia, Netherlands eye enhanced cooperation

  TALLINN, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Dutch King Willem-Alexander on Tuesday started his two-day state visit to Estonia to focus on historical ties and explore the potential for expanding economic partnerships.

  Meeting the Dutch King at the presidential palace Kadriorg, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said that the two nations are "like-minded", according to a press release.

  "The bond between our people is not simply on the political level. Our companies, students and scientists work together, which to me is a clear sign of like-mindedness," she noted, adding that "We value the benefits of digital society and Estonia is open to sharing our experiences with the Netherlands".

  While discussing defence cooperation, Kaljulaid pointed out that the Netherlands has been contributing to the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) for years, their fighters have been patrolling Estonian air space and the Netherlands is Estonia's biggest partner in defence procurements.

  "This joint trust is based on our historical experiences, common values and approach to the international situation, which does not differ in any questions which truly matter, from Brexit to European Union issues," she said.

  Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas, who welcomed the Dutch King at the Prime Minister office Stenbock House, said that he is happy that the cooperation between Estonia and the Netherlands is taking a clearer shape, adding that "Our economic ties and business to business contacts are good but I still see unused potential here".

  The Netherlands is the third largest foreign investor in Estonia and among the top ten of Estonia's foreign trading partners, said the press release from the Prime Minister's Office.

  Ratas and King Willem-Alexander also discussed the issues of digital society, working together in the field of defence and security, particularly the possibilities of strengthening the fight against cyber attacks and disinformation.

  Eiki Nestor, President of the Estonian Parliament Riigikogu, met the Dutch King at Toompea Castle and talked about the principles of the e-governance of Estonia and asserted the long-time good relations between the two countries, said the parliament press release.

  Nestor emphasized that Estonia and the Netherlands are good partners both in the European Union and in NATO, and their bilateral friendly relations in many fields have lasted for 100 years already.

  "Today we have good bilateral research and cyber cooperation, we have close economic relations and we are an example to others in the European Union in the e-health sector," Nestor said.