TALLINN - Estonia is the only member of NATO and the European Union to attack the legitimacy of the US presidential election, Estonian MEP Urmas Paet said on Sunday.
"Looking at the outgoing week, which proved a sad one when it comes to Estonia's reputation due to verbal attacks and insults made by Minister of Finance Martin Helme and [former] Minister of the Interior Mart Helme against the US elections and President-elect Joe Biden, it is clear that Estonia's reputation has taken a serious blow," Paet wrote on social media.
"These declarations reached the entire world. Estonia is the only NATO ally of the United States and member state of the European Union whose government members have mounted such an attack on Biden and the US elections," he said.
"And this is something that makes us stand out -- something that draws attention to us. Sadly, it's the kind of attention that will continue causing damage to Estonia for a long time," Paet said, adding that Estonia had been mentioned in US, British, German and French media on 270 occasions during the outgoing week.
"The lion's share, that is 90 percent, was about the declarations by Estonia's finance minister and minister of the interior regarding the US presidential elections, in which they called Joe Biden a corrupt dirt bag that can be blackmailed, and claimed that there is no doubt that the US election outcome had been falsified," he noted.
"The so-called press conference held on the resignation of Minister of the Interior Mart Helme only made the situation worse as it reaffirmed his and Minister of Finance Martin Helme's earlier rhetoric. There was no remorse expressed at this press conference over what had been said, contrary to what the international community had presumed," the MEP said. "What both ministers said at this press conference and the finance minister continuing in the government despite having the same positions as the minister of the interior attracted international media attention even further."
Paet said that the incident had been covered by major international news agencies, such as AP, AFP, Reuters and DPA and media outlets including The Washington Post, BBC, The Times, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Foreign Policy.
Hundreds of stories were published in numerous states across the world from Australia to Turkey, in addition to US, British, German and French media, he noted.
"Therefore, this event is among those to have caused the greatest international reputational damage to Estonia in international media," Paet said, adding that as of Saturday, only Russian President Vladimir Putin had yet to congratulate Biden.
"How about we put these accusations by members of the Estonian government and their insults at the President-elect, Biden, in this context?" he concluded.