Home focus needed

  • 2011-11-30
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - Estonia should stop expanding its diplomatic representations in Asia and strengthen those in EU member states and key NATO capitals, according to a study by the Foreign Policy Institute, reports National Broadcasting. The study, titled ‘The Present and Future of the Estonian Foreign Representative Network,’ was discussed by the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Nov. 22. It examined the possibility that Estonia would have to cut back on many of its foreign representations if it gets into a situation where it lacks the funds to support them.

Ahto Lobjakas, an analyst for the institute, told ETV that in no case should a representation in any EU or NATO member state be closed. “It doesn’t matter how small this representation is, it still has to exist. The other side of the coin is that if any new moves are taken which require more money, then they would have to have a clear political and economic benefit,” he said.

The institute concluded that the country’s priorities should be first and foremost Brussels and other major capitals, then close neighbors, then more distant allies and EU members. In terms of southern neighbors, it would be more advantageous to open representations in the Balkans instead of the Middle East, it said.
The Foreign Affairs Committee is working on solidifying its strategy for foreign missions ahead of a parliamentary debate on foreign policy due to take place in February.