Mayors of Helsinki and Tallinn: We need to see beyond the crisis

The mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori and the mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kõlvart held an online meeting to discuss the current situation and the development of twin city cooperation.

The mayors exchanged their updates on the latest developments in Helsinki and Tallinn. Unfortunately, both cities are experiencing a similarly severe situation due to COVID-19 pandemic but regardless, the cooperation is working in full steam. The neighbouring cities share common goals on the digitalisation of urban planning, improvement of mobility, development of tourism and the wellbeing of the Baltic Sea.

The mayor of Helsinki said that in his opinion, Nordic countries are managing the crisis better than most countries. “We are finally seeing realistic plans concerning vaccination and hoping to see the end of the crisis. I believe that we will be able to enhance the position in the global market as safe, clean, well-organised counties that have proven their ability to tackle the global crisis,” said Vapaavouri. For both mayors, it is important to keep in mind the time after the crisis, prepare for the new reality and keep a positive mindset. They agreed that in the new reality, there is an increasing need to cooperate because the development of tourism and different economic sectors will be faster than before.

According to Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, the crisis has brought additional motivation and offers new goals for the future in order to attract tourists, talents and investments to the region. “Despite the difficult situation, we must also look to the future and set goals in order to be attractive and competitive. That way we can contribute to the construction of a new post-corona world and increase our own worth,” said Kõlvart.

This was one of the regular meetings of the two mayors, taking place twice a year alternately in Helsinki and Tallinn, to review the implementation of the action plan for 2018-2021 attached to the Memorandum of Cooperation concluded in 2018 and to set new guidelines. Vapaavuori and Kõlvart agreed to hold the next meeting in spring 2021 and hope that it will be possible to meet in Tallinn in person.