The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) starts discussions on the Arctic issues. In order to get background information for the discussions, the Committee decided to commission a study that would provide an overview of Estonia’s interests and opportunities in connection with global developments in the Arctic, and of Estonia’s readiness for cooperation with the countries of the Arctic region.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa said that the aim of the study was to get the opinion of experts on several issues connected with the Arctic, like topics relating to economic activities, environmental changes, security, research and development and the situation of indigenous peoples. “The economic and environmental topics connected with the Arctic are becoming more and more important every day for many countries, and it is important to start thoroughly analysing Estonia’s possibilities to have a say in these issues,” he pointed out. “The resolution of the Government of the Republic to apply for the status of an observer state is an important step in shaping Estonia’s Arctic policy. The Foreign Affairs Committee wishes to contribute to it through its discussions,” Eesmaa added.
“Observer status in the Arctic Council would open a new door for Estonia to contribute to resolving the issues faced by a region that is attracting ever-increasing global attention,” Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson noted. “Participating in the work of the Council is a unique opportunity for the Estonian scientists, as well as for developing the possibilities and economic activities of our transport and logistics sector.”
“The possibility to enhance our allied relations is an important added value of the observer status. Thus, one of the purposes of the study is to get an overview of Estonia’s opportunities for cooperation in Arctic issues at the European Union level and in regional formats, as well as for bilateral cooperation with the member states and observer states of the Arctic Council,” Mihkelson added.
The Committee expects the study to be ready by spring 2021.
Earlier studies and public opinion polls commissioned by the Riigikogu are available on the Riigikogu website.
The Foreign Affairs Committee also discussed the Arctic issues at a video conference today, where representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave an overview on Estonia’s application for observer status in the Arctic Council.
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