Foreign relations of Estonia

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Estonia

The Republic of Estonia gained its independence from the Russian Empire on 24 February 1918 and established diplomatic relations with many countries via membership of the League of Nations. The forcible incorporation of Estonia into the Soviet Union in 1940 was not generally recognised by the international community and the Estonian diplomatic service continued to operate in some countries. Following the restoration of independence from the Soviet Union, Russia was one of the first nations to re-recognize Estonia's independence (the first country to do so was Iceland on 22 August 1991). Estonia's immediate priority after regaining its independence was the withdrawal of Russian (formerly Soviet) forces from Estonian territory. In August 1994, this was completed. However, relations with Moscow have remained strained primarily because Russia decided not to ratify the border treaty it had signed with Estonia in 1999.

Trends following re-independence[edit]

Since regaining independence, Estonia has pursued a foreign policy of close cooperation with Western European nations.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and President George W. Bush, in Estonia 2006.

The two most important policy objectives in this regard have been accession into NATO and the European Union, achieved in March and May 2004 respectively. Estonia's international realignment toward the West has been accompanied by a general deterioration in relations with Russia, most recently demonstrated by the controversy surrounding relocation of the Bronze Soldier WWII memorial in Tallinn.[1] Estonia has become an increasingly strong supporter of deepening European integration. The decision to participate in the preparation­ of a financial transaction tax in 2012 reflects this shift in Estonia’s EU policy.[2]

An important element in Estonia's post-independence reorientation has been closer ties with the Nordic countries, especially Finland and Sweden. Indeed, Estonians consider themselves a Nordic people due to being Finno-Ugric people like the Finns rather than Balts,[3][4] based on their historical ties with Denmark and particularly Finland and Sweden. In December 1999 Estonian foreign minister (and since 2006, president of Estonia) Toomas Hendrik Ilves delivered a speech entitled "Estonia as a Nordic Country" to the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.[5] In 2003, the foreign ministry also hosted an exhibit called "Estonia: Nordic with a Twist".[6] And in 2005, Estonia joined the European Union's Nordic Battle Group. It has also shown continued interest in becoming a full member in the Nordic Council.

Whereas in 1992 Russia accounted for 92% of Estonia's international trade,[7] today there is extensive economic interdependence between Estonia and its Nordic neighbors: three quarters of foreign investment in Estonia originates in the Nordic countries (principally Finland and Sweden), to which Estonia sends 42% of its exports (as compared to 6.5% going to Russia, 8.8% to Latvia, and 4.7% to Lithuania). On the other hand, the Estonian political system, its flat rate of income tax, and its non-welfare-state model distinguish it from the other Nordic states, and indeed from many other European countries.[8]

Estonia is a party to 181 international organizations, including the BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (member since 1 May 2004), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, NATO, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO.

International disputes[edit]

Estonian and Russian negotiators reached a technical border agreement in December 1996. The border treaty was initialed in 1999. On 18 May 2005 Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov signed in Moscow the “Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Estonian-Russian border” and the “Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Delimitation of the Maritime Zones in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Narva”. The Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament) ratified the treaties on 20 June 2005 and the President of Estonia Arnold Rüütel announced them on 22 June 2005. On 31 August 2005 Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a written order to the Russian Foreign Ministry to notify the Estonian side of “Russia’s intention not to participate in the border treaties between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Estonia”. On 6 September 2005 the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation forwarded a note to Estonia, in which Russia informed that it did not intend to become a party to the border treaties between Estonia and Russia and did not consider itself bound by the circumstances concerning the object and the purposes of the treaties.

Diplomatic relationships[edit]

Estonia established diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan on 27 May 1992. Estonia is represented in Kazakhstan through its embassy in Moscow (Russia). Kazakhstan is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Vilnius (Lithuania).[citation needed]

Uruguay was among the countries that refused to recognize the Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries. Uruguay re-recognised Estonia’s independence on 28 August 1991. Estonia and Uruguay established diplomatic relations on 30 September 1992. Estonia is represented in Uruguay through an honorary consulate in Montevideo. Uruguay is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Stockholm (Sweden) and an honorary consulate in Tallinn.[9]

Through diplomatic cooperation with Latvia, Estonia opened an embassy in Cairo, Egypt in March 2010 [10] as settled in an agreement signed by Estonian Foreign Ministry Secretary General Marten Kokk and the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia Kārlis Eihenbaums on 5 January.

As of February 2012, Estonia has not established diplomatic relations with three countries: North Korea, Sudan, and Burma. Foreign minister Urmas Paet has indicated that after the 2011–2012 Burmese political reforms Estonia is reconsidering its stance in regard to the government in Burma and is now considering establishing formal diplomatic relations.[11]

Relations by country[edit]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Armenia 23 August 1992
 Australia 22 September 1921 See Australia–Estonia relations
  • Australia first recognised Estonia on 22 September 1921.
  • Both countries re-established diplomatic relations on 21 November 1991.
  • Australia is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Stockholm (Sweden), and through an honorary consulate in Tallinn.
  • Estonia is represented in Australia through its embassy in Tokyo (Japan) and through three honorary consulates (in Claremont, Hobart, and two in Sydney).
  • Australia is host to one of the largest communities of Estonians abroad, with 8,232 people identifying as Estonian in the 2006 Australian Census.[13][14]
 Austria 26 June 1921
 Azerbaijan 20 April 1992 See Azerbaijan-Estonia relations
 Belarus 6 April 1992
  • Belarus has a Consulate General in Tallinn.[16]
  • Estonia opened its Consulate General in Minsk on 21 July 1995.[17]
 Belgium 26 January 1921 See Foreign relations of Belgium
 Bulgaria 20 May 1921 See Bulgaria–Estonia relations
  • Bulgaria recognised Estonia on 20 May 1921 and re-recognised Estonia on 26 August 1991.
  • Bulgaria is represented in Estonia through an honorary consulate in Tallinn.
  • Estonia has an honorary consulate in Sofia.[18]
 Canada 1922 See Foreign relations of Canada
 Chile 22 September 1921 See Chile–Estonia relations
  • Chile first recognised Estonia on 22 September 1921.
  • Chile re-recognised Estonia on 28 August 1991 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on 27 September 1991. Chile is represented in Estonia through its ambassador who resides in Helsinki (Finland) and through an honorary consulate in Tallinn. Estonia is represented in Chile through an honorary consulate in Santiago. The current Chilean ambassador to Estonia, Carlos Parra Merino, officially presented his credentials to the Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in June 2007[19] Carlos Parra Merino resides in Helsinki.
  • An agreement on visa-free travel between Estonia and Chile came to force in 2 December 2000.[20][21][22] The two countries also have in force a Memorandum on co-operation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs.[20] Agreements on cultural, tourism, and IT cooperation are being readied.[20]
  • Chile is among Estonia's most important foreign trade partners in South America.[23]
  • In 2007, trade between Estonia and Chile was valued at 6.3 million EUR. Estonian exports included mainly machinery, mechanical equipment, and mineral fuels; Chile exports included mainly wine, fish, crustaceans and fruit. In 2004, 83% of Chile exports to Estonia, then totaling 2.4 million EUR, consisted of wine.[20] In 2008, Chilean wines held the highest share of Estonia's imported wine market, followed by Spanish wines.[24] Due to its climate being unsuitable for large-scale grape production, most wine sold in Estonia is imported.
  • In 2006, Estonia and Chile issued the joint Antarctic themed stamp series, designed by Ülle Marks and Jüri Kass, bearing images of the Emperor penguin and the minke whale.[25] The works of Chilean writers Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda and José Donoso have been translated into Estonian.[20]
 Colombia 22 September 1921
  • Colombia first recognised Estonia on 22 September 1921.
  • Colombia recognised the restored Republic of Estonia on 23 March 1994.
  • Colombia is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Warsaw (Poland).
  • Estonia is represented in Colombia through its embassy in Warsaw (Poland).
  • Colombia defines Estonia as a major ally and key player on Colombia's accession into the OECD and ratification of the Colombia-European Union Trade Agreement.[26]
 Croatia 2 March 1992 See Croatia–Estonia relations
 Cyprus See Foreign relations of Cyprus
 Czech Republic See Foreign relations of the Czech Republic
 Denmark 1921 See Denmark–Estonia relations
 Egypt 1937
 Finland 20 June 1920 See Estonia–Finland relations
 France 26 January 1921
 Georgia 17 June 1992
 Greece 19 May 1922
 Holy See 10 October 1921
 Hungary 24 February 1921
 Iceland 30 January 1922
 India 22 September 1921 See Estonia–India relations
  • India first recognised Estonia on 22 September 1921.
  • India re-recognised Estonia on 9 September 1991.
  • Estonia is represented in India by two honorary consulates (in Mumbai and New Delhi).
  • India is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Helsinki (Finland) and through an honorary consulate in Tallinn.
 Ireland 27 August 1991
 Israel 9 January 1992
 Italy 26 January 1921
 Japan 26 January 1921
 Kosovo 24 April 2008
 Latvia 3 December 1918 See Estonia–Latvia relations
  • Estonia has an embassy in Riga.
  • Latvia has an embassy in Tallinn.
  • The two states share 343 km of common borders.[citation needed]
  • They enjoy close relations sharing a common history of relations in the USSR and being neighbours.[44]
 Lithuania 1919
  • Estonia has an embassy in Vilnius.[45]
  • Lithuania has an embassy in Tallinn.[46]
  • The Estonian ambassador to Lithuania is Andres Tropp.
  • Both countries are situated in the Baltic region and are the full members of NATO and EU.
 Luxembourg 22 February 1923
  • Luxembourg recognised Estonia on 22 February 1923 and re-recognised Estonia on 27 August 1991.[clarification needed][20] Both countries re-established diplomatic relations on 29 August 1991.[20] Estonia is represented in Luxembourg through its embassy in Brussels (Belgium) and an honorary consulate in Luxembourg.[20] Luxembourg is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Prague (Czech Republic).[20] As of 31 December 2007 foreign investments made in Estonia originating from Luxembourg totaled 225 million EUR accounting for 2% of the total volume of foreign direct investments. Luxembourg took 10th place in the general ranking of the countries. Investments from Luxembourg were made primarily in real estate rental and business activity (46%), wholesale and retail trade (34%), and financial intermediation (15%). The rest were made in the transportation and communication sector and the manufacturing industry. As of the same date, Estonian direct investments in Luxembourg totaled 1.1 million EUR, and were mostly made in the financial and real estate sectors.[20] There are about 300 Estonians living in Luxembourg.[20]
  • Trade agreement between Estonia and Belgium and Luxembourg (1935)[47]
  • Agreement on Road Transport between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands (came into force 1.12.94)[48]
  • Agreement Between Estonia and the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments (came into force 23 September 1999)[49]
  • Agreement Between Estonia and the States of Benelux on Readmission of Persons (came into force 1.02.05)
  • Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Income and Capital Tax evasion (signed 23 May 2006)[50][51]
 Malaysia 4 November 1993 See Foreign relations of Malaysia
 Malta 1 January 1992
 Mexico 28 January 1937
  • Mexico and Estonia signed a friendship treaty on 28 January 1937.
  • Mexico was among those countries that never recognized Estonia's annexation by the Soviet Union. Mexico recognized the restored Republic of Estonia on 5 September 1991, while diplomatic relations were re-established on 5 December 1991.[58]
  • Estonia has an honorary consulate in Mexico City.
  • Mexico is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Helsinki
 Moldova 10 November 1992
 Netherlands 5 March 1921
 Norway 5 February 1921
 Pakistan
 People's Republic of China 11 September 1991 See Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China
 Poland 31 December 1920
 Portugal 6 February 1921
 Romania 26 February 1921
 Russia 2 February 1920 See Estonia–Russia relations

Russia recognised Estonia via the Tartu Peace Treaty on the 2nd of February, 1920. Russian-Estonian relations were re-established in January 1991, when the presidents Boris Yeltsin of RSFSR and Arnold Rüütel of the Republic of Estonia met in Tallinn and signed a treaty governing the relations of the two countries after the anticipated independence of Estonia from the Soviet Union.[68][69] The treaty guaranteed the right to freely choose their citizenship for all residents of the former Estonian SSR.

Russia re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 24 August 1991 after the failed Soviet coup attempt, as one of the first countries to do so. The Soviet Union recognised the independence of Estonia on 6 September. Estonia's ties with Boris Yeltsin weakened since the Russian leader's initial show of solidarity with the Baltic states in January 1991. Issues surrounding the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Baltic republics and Estonia's denial of automatic citizenship to persons who settled in Estonia in 1941-1991 and well offspring[70] ranked high on the list of points of contention.

 Serbia 9 February 2001
 Slovakia 30 March 1993
 South Korea 17 September 1991
  • South Korea recognised Estonia on 6 September 1991.
  • Estonia has an honorary consulate in Seoul.
  • South Korea is represented in Estonia through its embassy in Helsinki (Finland) and through an honorary consualte in Tallinn.
  • In 2006, Korea was ranked as Estonia’s 35th export partner and 29th import partner. Estonia’s exports to Korea consist primarily of machinery and mechanical appliances and wood items. The main import articles are transport vehicles and mechanical inventory. The total value of exports to Korea in 2006 was 19.2 million EUR, while imports totalled 34.6 million EUR.[71]
  • South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade about relations with Estonia
 Spain 25 March 1921
 Sri Lanka 31 January 1996 See Estonia – Sri Lanka relations
  • Sri Lanka recognised Estonia on 10 October 1991.
  • Sri Lanka has an embassy in Stockholm which serves Estonia.
  • Estonia has no embassy for Sri Lanka.
  • Economic relations between Sri Lanka and Estonia are at moderate level.
 Sweden See Estonia–Sweden relations
  • Estonia was under Swedish rule between 1561 and 1721.
  • Sweden re-recognised Estonia on 27 August 1991.
  • Estonia has an embassy in Stockholm and five honorary consulates (in Eskilstuna, Gothenburg, Karlskrona, Malmö and Visby).
  • Sweden has an embassy in Tallinn and two honorary consulates (in Narva and Tartu).
 Ukraine 4 January 1992
 United Kingdom 5 February 1921
 United States 22 July 1922 See Estonia – United States relations

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Estonia blames Russia for unrest". BBC News. 29 April 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "Estonia strives to be at the core of the EU". The Finnish Institute of International Affairs. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Estonian foreign ministry publication, 2004
  4. ^ Estonian foreign ministry publication, 2002
  5. ^ NATO :: NATO :: Estonia as a Nordic Country
  6. ^ Estonia - Nordic with a Twist
  7. ^ The Estonian Economic Miracle
  8. ^ http://www.investinestonia.com/pdf/ForeignTrade2007.pdf Foreign investment
  9. ^ Estonia and Uruguay
  10. ^ Foreign Minister Urmas Paet Opened Estonian Embassy in Egypt
  11. ^ "Millise kahe riigiga pole Eestil diplomaatilisi suhteid?" Postimees 1. march 2012. (Estonian)
  12. ^ Site of the Armenian community in Estonia (in Armenian, Estonian and Russian only)
  13. ^ Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade about relations with Estonia - Brief
  14. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with Australia
  15. ^ Estonian embassy in Vienna
  16. ^ Belarussian consulate general in Tallinn
  17. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with Belarus
  18. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with Bulgaria
  19. ^ The Estonian President received credentials from the Ambassador of Chile
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Estonia and Chile
  21. ^ Elektrooniline Riigi Teataja: Eesti Vabariigi valitsuse ja Tšiili Vabariigi valitsuse vaheline turistide viisakohustuse kaotamise kokkulepe
  22. ^ Visa-free travel between Estonia, Chile comes into force, BNS news agency, Tallinn - 1 December 2000, BBC Archive
  23. ^ Estonian Cabinet of Ministers: Prime Minister spoke with the President of Chile about the common interests of both states
  24. ^ Ärileht 4 December 2008 15:21: Eesti tarbija eelistab Hispaania ja Tšiili veine
  25. ^ Õhtuleht Eesti ja Tšiili ühine postmark, 25 October 2006
  26. ^ http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/international/regions/europe/union/member/estonia
  27. ^ Hrvatska i Estonija potpisale sporazum o ukidanje viza i readmisiji
  28. ^ Partnership of Estonia and Croatia
  29. ^ Egyptian embassy in Helsinki (also accredited to Estonia)
  30. ^ http://www.estemb.fi/viron_kunniakonsulit
  31. ^ Estonian embassy in Paris
  32. ^ French embassy in Tallinn (in Estonian, French and Russian only)
  33. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: direction of the Estonian ambassador to the Vatican
  34. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: direction of the Vatican embassy in Vilnius (also accredited to Estonia)
  35. ^ Estonian embassy in Budapest
  36. ^ Hungarian embassy in Tallinn
  37. ^ Icelandic embassy in Helsinki (also accredited to Estonia)
  38. ^ Israeli embassy in Helsinki (also accredited to Estonia)
  39. ^ Estonian embassy in Rome
  40. ^ Italian embassy in Tallinn
  41. ^ Estonian embassy in Tokyo
  42. ^ Japanese embassy in Tallinn
  43. ^ http://www.estemb.or.jp/lang_4/rub_1491/rub2_1499
  44. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with Latvia
  45. ^ (Estonian) (Lithuanian) (English) Embassy of the Republic of Estonia in the Republic of Lithuania
  46. ^ (Lithuanian) (English) Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in the Republic of Estonia
  47. ^ "Convention pour favoriser les échanges et les règlements commerciaux entre l'Union économique belgo-luxembourgeoise et l'Estonie". 
  48. ^ Text of Agreement on Road Transport between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands
  49. ^ Text of the Agreement Between Estonia and the Belgo-Luxembourg Economic Union on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments.
  50. ^ "Convention de double imposition : Luxembourg-Estonie". 
  51. ^ "Estonia, Luxembourg sign tax treaty". 15 June 2006. 
  52. ^ Balan Moses (3 March 2012). "Consul's big plans for a small nation". New Straits Times. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  53. ^ "Eesti avas aukonsulaadi Malaisias" (in Estonian). e24. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  54. ^ Ingrid Teesalu (13 February 2012). "Estonia Opens Honorary Consulate in Malaysia". Estonian Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  55. ^ a b c "Bilateral relations (Estonia and Malaysia)". Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  56. ^ Direction of the Estonian representation in Malta
  57. ^ Direction of the Maltese representation in Estonia
  58. ^ Estonia and Mexico
  59. ^ Estonian embassy in The Hague
  60. ^ Dutch embassy in Tallinn
  61. ^ Estonian embassy in Oslo
  62. ^ Norway embassy in Tallinn (in Estonian and Norwegian only)
  63. ^ Estonian embassy in Warsaw
  64. ^ Polish embassy in Tallinn
  65. ^ Estonian embassy in Lisbon
  66. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: direction of the Estonian honorary consulates in Portugal
  67. ^ Romanian embassy in Helsinki (also accredited to Estonia), page about relations with Estonia
  68. ^ Kristina Kallas, Eesti Vabariigi ja Vene Föderatsiooni riikidevahelised läbirääkimised aastatel 1990–1994 - Tartu 2000
  69. ^ Eesti Ekspress: Ta astus sajandist pikema sammu - Boriss Jeltsin 1931-2007, 25 April 2007
  70. ^ Citizenship Act of Estonia (§ 5. Acquisition of Estonian citizenship by birth): [1]
  71. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with South Korea
  72. ^ Estonian embassy in Madrid
  73. ^ Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: direction of the Estonian honorary consulates in Spain
  74. ^ Spanish embassy in Tallinn (in Spanish only)
  75. ^ Estonian embassy in Kiev
  76. ^ Ukrainian embassy in Tallinn (new site)
  77. ^ Estonian embassy in London
  78. ^ British embassy in Tallinn
  79. ^ "OUTWARD STATE VISITS MADE BY THE QUEEN SINCE 1952". Official web site of the British Monarchy. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  80. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27447952