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Concept of foreign policy has changed for Estonia

  • 2015-07-27
  • From wire reports and TBT staff, TALLINN

According to Estonia’s new Foreign Minister, Marina Kaljurand, the concept of foreign policy has changed for the country.

"The role of the Foreign Ministry in foreign policy has certainly not diminished,” she said in an interview with Eesti Paevaleht in an interview last week. 

“When it comes to the foreign policy of the European Union and Estonia, it is conducted by the Foreign Ministry, which is and will remain the central foreign policy institution," she continued. 

"What has changed for us is the concept of foreign policy. Foreign policy is conducted within the competence and powers of other institutions as well - President, Prime Minister, Members of the European Parliament, and so on. 

“They all have a part to play and I believe in a foreign policy that is inclusive and is conducted in cooperation.”

Despite outlining the shift in the concept of foreign policy for Estonia, Kaljurand said she cannot single out one particular task as more important than others. 

"The tasks are the same as those I have mentioned previously: security in the broadest sense of the word. 

“This means containing an aggressive Russia, but it also means energy and cyber security. 

“This means good economic relations, foreign investments in Estonia, Estonia's good reputation and entrepreneurs' interests. 

“In addition, good transatlantic relations.”

Kaljurand believes security threats are not comparable, and each threat has must be addressed separately. 

"Russia's aggression against Ukraine has changed the European security picture,” she continued. “The same goes for terrorism that has truly arrived in Europe.”

“It was only recently a terrorist attack was committed in Turkey. We must take into account that terrorism exists and is expanding.

"There are many more threats to security than those two and I would include cyber threats in this list. Not a single cyber attack has yet caused human deaths but we do not know when such a thing might happen. 

If it happens, how, where and under which circumstances? We must be prepared for this danger as well.”

As regarding the release of the Estonian security official Eston Kohver who has been detained in Russia, Kaljurand emphasised work must continue although the situation remains politically delicate.

"Since the moment Eston Kohver was snatched from Estonian territory, everything Russia has done has been illegal. We have no illusions about Eston Kohver being given a fair trial. 

But it's not merely a question of administration of justice. What can we do? We can try to make his stay in prison as tolerable as possible.

“There is reason to assume that Kohver will be found guilty and be given a long sentence, but this does not change the Foreign Ministry's activity. We will continue to work,” she concluded.