On Tuesday, MPs met with heads of Estonia’s foreign missions. The main topics were the common concern for security and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The Estonian diplomats also met the European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) and the Foreign Affairs Committee. The Chairmen of the two Committees – Kalle Palling and Marko Mihkelson, respectively – gave them an overview of the work of parliamentary committees in shaping Estonia’s foreign policy.
“Thanks to Estonian diplomats, we are still a free country. A country that we think sees, hears, feels and interprets the developments around us and in our neighbourhood exactly as they are, without sugar coating or mincing our words,” concluded Marko Mihkelson on the hot topic of security.
The Estonian diplomats raised many issues concerning various aspects of Estonia’s security. These included the involvement of ex-patriot communities, Estonia’s capability of responding to emergencies, national defence legislation, cyber defence and its development and goals, but also the trade war between Russia and the EU, aid to Ukraine, and finding new export markets for Estonian companies. The role of the NATO and the sale of Mistral ships by France to Russia were also raised.
The former Ambassador of Estonia to USA Marina Kaljurand, currently an Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, raised the issue of cyber defence. In response, the Chairman of the EUAC Kalle Palling remarked that cyber defence could well become the responsibility of an ICT minister in the next government. “The idea of an ICT minister has indeed been discussed before,” Palling said of possible future changes in the Cabinet. Marko Mihkelson thought it unlikely that the conservative Estonian parliament could one day form a cyber defence committee.
In light of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Estonia’s help to Ukraine came under discussion. The consensus was that no solution was likely over the next few months. Estonia’s Ambassador to Ukraine Sulev Kannike talked about the visibility of Estonia’s aid in Ukraine. By now, Estonia has responded to every request for assistance regarding Ukraine, and has contributed nearly EUR 750,000 to the cause. The total could reach one million Euros by the end of this year.
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