Estonian Embassy in Sweden :: News & Events en-us WiseCMS 2.0 Declaration of the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, following the release of Eston Kohver Today, we will remove the yellow ribbons that demonstrated our hope and support for the return home of Eston Kohver, the Estonian Internal Security Police official who was kidnapped on 5 September of last year from the territory of the Republic of Estonia. <p>&nbsp;Eston Kohver – a tough, determined and loyal civil servant of the Republic of Estonia – is now back home again, reunited with his wife and four children. </p><p>&nbsp;I wish to extend my gratitude to all the people across many authorities and institutions who toiled resourcefully and with determination, step by step during this long year, for Eston Kohver’s release, and who offered support to both him and his family. I would also like to thank all the compatriots who expressed their hope for Eston’s return. </p><p>&nbsp;I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of our allies together with the international support and solidarity, which was powerful, visible and effective. </p><p>&nbsp;Ultimately, it was no longer about the “big” political issue or a question of special services testing each other’s boundaries, but a 44 year old man who had been serving his country and who suddenly found himself in the middle of an incident, with his family awaiting his return home and a resolute effort made to bring him back. </p><p>&nbsp;Some of the steps taken by the Republic of Estonia were public and visible for everyone to see. However, as is common in foreign relations and in situations where the goal is to reach a tangible outcome, we only see the tip of the iceberg and many things only remain known to those involved. </p><p>&nbsp;When I met with the family of Eston Kohver in August, I promised that Estonia would do everything within its power to bring Eston back home. And this is what the Republic of Estonia did. </p><p>&nbsp;<b>Office of the President</b> </p><p><b>Public Relations Department</b></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 26 Sep 2015 12:03:00 GMT The statement of Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas on Eston Kohver's release One year and three weeks ago Estonian security officer Eston Kohver was abducted by Russian Security Services from Estonian territory. His illegal detention - a clear and grave violation of international law - is finally over. Eston Kohver is safe and sound at home, in Estonia, with his family and loved ones.I thank Eston and his family for not giving up at this difficult time. Thank you for never losing your faith and trust in your country. <p>&nbsp;I thank Minister of Interior, Director of the Internal Security Service and all those who worked day and night for his immediate release. </p><p>&nbsp; I thank Estonian people who never lost their hope. </p><p>&nbsp;I thank our friends, Allies and wider international community for your solidarity, determination and support. </p><p>&nbsp;During the most difficult times, we should never stop believing in justice and fairness. Today is a clear proof of that.&nbsp; </p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Sat, 26 Sep 2015 12:01:06 GMT Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand expressed sincere joy over the safe return home of Eston Kohver <div id="block-delta-blocks-page-title"> <div> <div> <h1 id="page-title"><br></h1> </div> </div> </div> <footer><br></footer><br> <div> <div> <div><a href="" title="Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand expressed sincere joy over the safe return home of Eston Kohver"><img src="" height="319" width="480"></a></div> </div> </div> <p>"I am very pleased that Eston Kohver is back at home with his family. Eston Kohver's return home is good news for Estonia, good news for all of Europe," Foreign Minister Kaljurand said.</p> <p>"We are extremely grateful to our friends, partners and allies, who supported Estonia over<br> the course of the last year and called on Russia to release Eston Kohver. International support for Estonia was steadfast and united and this had a significant role in reaching a resolution," Foreign Minister Kaljurand stressed.</p> <p>PRESS DEPARTMENT<br> (+372) 637 7654<br> (+372) 588 55 171<br><a href=""></a></p> Sat, 26 Sep 2015 11:54:52 GMT Address by Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus to the Riigikogu on behalf of the Government of Estonia <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><p>Honourable head of session!</p> <p>Dear members of Parliament!</p> <p>Honoured guests!</p> <p>The Estonian state lasting forever. Ensuring our security. Protecting our people who are far from home. Contributing to Estonia's economic growth. Promoting the values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Increasing the influence of our country abroad.</p> <p>Our country lasting forever.</p> <p>These are Estonia’s foreign policy objectives.</p> <p>Why am I beginning today’s foreign policy speech like this? Definitely, for the past year we have all had these objectives acutely in mind on a number of occasions. I will begin today by thanking everyone who has contributed and made possible that we can now, today, right here, say – our security is steadfast. This expression of gratitude is directed at the people of Estonia, thanks to whose contribution we have been able to strengthen our security. To our allies, who support us. But also to all those who make steady efforts to find friends, allies and supporters for Estonia. Thank you.</p> <p>Today we are faced with Russian aggression in Ukraine. This has affected and will continue to affect the future of our bilateral and multilateral relations and activities, both in our region and beyond, in the most direct way. The most recent developments have put in doubt the viability of the European co-operative security architecture, which is based on the OSCE Helsinki Final Act. At the same time, there are forces in the European broader southern neighbourhood, which embody complete opposite to our values. Thirdly, we are constantly faced with global development issues, the resolution of which requires our active contribution. These issues shall frame my presentation today.</p> <p>I will start with what has likely scraped peoples’ souls all over Estonia. There is a war two thousand kilometres away from us. Our position about the Russian aggression against Ukraine is clear – it is a serious violation of the fundamental principles of international relations and international law, a violation which has now resulted more than 5,000 casualties. Borders have been redrawn by force. A million and a half people have been forced to leave their homes. One and a half million people. There should be consequences for those responsible.</p> <p>Did the conflict in Ukraine come as a complete surprise? Not at all. Just to recall Estonian National Security Concept adopted by the Parliament in 2010, stating that Russia is prepared to use military force to achieve its goals. We came to such a conclusion after the Russia-Georgia war in 2008. But the year 2002 was also very telling, when Russia essentially stopped the withdrawal of its military forces from Moldova and Georgia, thereby violating its commitments taken within the OSCE, as well as one of the basic principles of European security, namely the principle of host nation consent to the stationing of foreign forces. Unfortunately, we see that such a violation of the principles, a failure to respect the sovereignty of neighbouring countries, has been characteristic of the behaviour of Russia throughout this new 21st century. The mistake that was made by the international community following the war in Georgia, as they hurried to resume partnership relations with Putin's Russia, must not be repeated. A regime which sponsors the killing of civilians and annexes the territories can not be a partner. Not long as the behaviour does not change. In real terms. Not just on paper.</p> <p>In response to recent events, the strengthening of the collective security architecture, that is NATO, as well as the European Union, has been necessary, prompt and appropriate. NATO Wales Summit defined the strengthened presence of the allied forces in the eastern flank as the new normal. We are taking steps in NATO, which have already increased the security of our region, including that of Estonia. I am referring both to the presence and increasing of the capabilities of the Alliance. Since the beginning of May of last year, Danish fighter jets were at Ämari Air Base and were replaced by German planes in August. Currently Spain is present. Since the spring last year, U.S. Army units have continuously been in Estonia. Estonia on its part is ready to provide support for the Allied units. In addition to the already agreed 2% defence expenditures. We take our commitment and contribution to security seriously – this year our defence spending will be even more than 2% of the GDP. During the forthcoming period, until the next NATO summit in Warsaw, for us, the three most important steps with regard to the Wales Summit decisions will be: 1. implementation; 2. implementation; 3. implementation.</p> <p>Honourable Riigikogu,</p> <p>The upcoming summer marks 75 years since the Welles Declaration with which the U.S. confirmed that they do not recognize the illegal incorporation of the Baltic countries into the Soviet Union. Similarly, we do not recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia. It is only natural that Europe and the U.S. are united on this point and that a large part of the world shares this view.</p> <p>Until the most recent escalation, we have been firm about our double track approach to resolve the crisis – 1. finding a political solution and 2. constant pressure in the form of sanctions. Diplomatic efforts, which at those moments will hopefully lead to agreements, are worthy of recognition. However, as experience has shown, implementing what has been agreed on is of decisive importance. Of similar importance, would be the lack of implementation. There can be no talk of easing of the European Union’s sanctions regime until real, tangible results have been achieved. We need to see the withdrawal of Russian armaments and military personnel from Ukraine and restoring Ukraine’s control over its state borders and territory. Until there is no such real outcome, sanctions must remain in place and preparations for extending them are also underway, as per the EU foreign ministers’ decision a week ago.</p> <p>In the weeks that followed the attack in January in Mariupol and the further escalation, there has been talk of strengthening Ukraine’s defence capability with military supplies. Possible decision to deliver arms rests with each individual state. There might be a need for the kind of capabilities, which – as a matter of fact – Estonia itself is not in position to deliver. Implementing of agreements reached now could reduce the topicality of this issue. Certainly, it must be ensured that whatever we undertake would not lead to even greater loss of life, but preventing it. The aim should be to end the conflict, and not to expand it.</p> <p>Ukraine’s economy also needs rapid assistance. The additional need for financing in the coming years is estimated at around 15 billion euros. There is firm willingness to help Ukraine. We are waiting for a donor conference to be convened, which would help also us to consider our own future steps.</p> <p>Estonia assisted Ukraine to the effect of over one million euros last year. Due to the deterioration of the situation, we have more than doubled that amount for this year – to 2.35 million euros. In order to help alleviate the situation of internally displaced persons, we have contributed through UN agencies; we also cured those who suffered injuries in both the Kyiv protests and hostilities in eastern Ukraine; and have also delivered food aid to Ukraine. In the area of reforms, we are helping with the implementation of the European Union-Ukraine Association Agreement and e-government, for greater openness and transparency. The continued presence of international observers through the OSCE activities in eastern Ukraine is necessary. We also support the European Union's civilian mission in Ukraine, which also includes experts from Estonia.</p> <p>Ukrainians themselves must vigorously implement reforms, fight against corruption and strengthen democracy and the rule of law with similar vigour. Reforms are an inevitable prerequisite for Ukraine to truly gain strength.</p> <p>What about the bilateral relations between Estonia and Russia? It currently sounds almost like a rhetorical question. What can bilateral relations be like with an aggressive neighbour? Airspace violations not only in Estonia, but also in other Nordic countries by the Russian military planes not using transponders is characteristic to this situation. What can be the goal of such actions? To raise the level of stress and nervousness in society, for sure. There is a number of hostile actions by Russia which violate international law, of which the most acute is the abduction of the security police officer Mr Eston Kohver from Estonian territory and his unlawful detention in Russia. We have raised the issue of the abduction of Mr Eston Kohver bilaterally with Russia, as well as in the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Union. Our allies have also raised the issue in their bilateral contacts with Russia. This case, unfortunately, characterizes all too accurately today's low level of Western-Russian relations. Estonian authorities are doing all they can for the release of Eston Kohver. We will keep the issue on the agenda of the international community until Mr Kohver has returned to Estonia.</p> <p>There are examples of technical level cooperation with Russia. There are working contacts concerning the environment, cross-border cooperation, customs, and other areas. At the same time however, in Europe, we have had to seriously think about how to protect ourselves against the spread of Russian propaganda. An initiative by the UK, Estonia, Lithuania and Denmark to counter this phenomenon, has received generally positive response from both the other member states and the European Commission. We ourselves definitely need to remember however, that "news" coming from the Kremlin's media and what is stated there, should be taken with extreme scepticism. Instead of distributing them as facts, they should be checked as compared to reliable sources.</p> <p>In summary, as what was said a year ago in this hall has shown, we have not wanted to isolate Russia, rather Russia has isolated itself from the European security architecture and turned this into a threatening factor. The European Union, whose main idea and goal since its inception has been to uphold peace in Europe, must act until peace is restored.</p> <p>There is a need to renew the Estonian foreign and security policy guidance documents. The National Security Concept dates from 2010. Its renewal will be the task of the new government and the Riigikogu.</p> <p>To conclude this rather sombre theme, I want to emphasize that despite increased tensions, Estonia is protected against external military threats, be they either hybrid or conventional ones. Our security in NATO and the European Union is safeguarded.</p> <p>Honoured Riigikogu,</p> <p>Before focusing on geographically distant topics, albeit just as relevant, I would like to briefly return to the European Union once more. During the first three quarters of last year, the European Union's economic growth rose to 0.3%. This year, growth of 1.5% is expected. This is a signal that Europe is once again on the road to becoming stronger.</p> <p>Europe and the euro zone are currently in need of good news. The last such good news was undoubtedly Lithuania's becoming euro mature. Many of the existing countries in the financial aid program returned to the money markets. This adds a sense of security and is proof of the success of structural reforms and smart economic policies. For the first time since 2008, the aggregate deficit of member states budgets fell below 3% of the GDP last year. Despite the good news, economic growth in Europe has still not recovered according to the pace which was expected, due to a lack of investment for example. In this context, high expectations have been placed on the 315 billion euro investment program proposed by the European Commission at the end of last year.</p> <p>Estonia is contributing to the developments in the European Union and thus directing the union's future. On March 1 the country will vote for the Riigikogu, during whose working period, in less than three years, Estonia's presidency of the Council of the European Union will be prepared and carried out. This gives us heightened responsibility and an opportunity to give more impetus to the topics that we ourselves consider a priority and where we are leaders. European Council President Mr Donald Tusk said during a recent visit to Estonia: "<em>Estonia inspires, being one of the most innovative and technologically advanced democracies in the world, not to mention the leading digital development in the European Union</em>". Particularly the promotion of the Single Digital Market, but also the more efficient operation of the internal market as a whole, are those areas where we have a carrying role and where we have high expectations both before and after the presidency of the European Union. We have a chance to show our ability to cooperate well and to stand for the joint interests of the European Union, where what matters to Europe, matters to Estonia.</p> <p>Today, the eyes of Europe are directed at Latvia, the current president of the Council of the EU. Latvia has set thankfully ambitious goals for the European Union, which in many ways is similar to what Estonia considers important. One of these is European Neighbourhood Policy.</p> <p>What will be the future of the Eastern Partnership? We are going to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga in May with the hope of giving partners the motivation to move forward on the European path. We remember well how a clear European perspective urged Central and Eastern Europeans to carry out reforms. We were convinced that following the necessary reforms, the integration of countries holding same values is possible. We also remember how we felt when we read the Financial Times in December 1994, where it was reported that "the Baltic countries cannot join the European Union, because that would unnecessarily feed their hopes for security guarantees. Granting these however, would provoke Russia." We stayed true to the choices we had made. Currently, we have a moral obligation to support and serve as a spokesman for those countries who have now made the same choice in favour of a model of European societal organization. Yes, of course they have to carry out a large number of reforms which initially seem awkward and difficult. But those countries must have the knowledge that when they do carry out the necessary reforms, doors will be open to them. The choice and decision is and must be the task of the country itself. That is why we support better differentiation of policies directed at the Eastern Partnership countries and encouraging more ambitious countries, which have more advanced such as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The other Eastern Partnership countries Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus should also be dealt with on an individual basis. The most tangible outcome in Riga should mean moving ahead with visa freedom with Georgia and Ukraine.</p> <p>Esteemed Riigikogu,</p> <p>I have already mentioned solidarity. Solidarity between allies is a multifaceted phenomenon. We need to think together and contribute to the topics which at first glance may appear to be remote. It is clear that in addition to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, European security is largely affected by the events in our southern neighbourhood, where I see two strategic problems.</p> <p>Firstly, we continue to have a very unstable Middle East. No substantial developments have occurred in the Middle East peace process. We have seen a number of unilateral steps which have not brought us closer to a solution. In addition to this, the civil war in Syria that has waged for years has provided for the emergence of terrorist groups such as the ISIL. During the past year, this terrorist organization was able to extend its control over many areas of Iraq and Syria. Moreover, there are &nbsp;already terrorist groups in Libya and Egypt, in Pakistan and Malaysia that pledge allegiance to ISIL. I want to emphasize that the fight against ISIL is not about the West and Islam. Several Arab nations are taking part in the operations along with Western states. Europe is directly threatened by foreign fighters, whose return home may have disastrous consequences, as we recently witnessed during the terrorist attacks in Paris.</p> <p>Together with 60 other countries, Estonia is part of the global coalition to counter ISIL. We have supported armed forces in the Iraqi Kurdish regional government by donating ammunition. We have also assisted the UN's efforts in Iraq and Syria to alleviate the humanitarian situation of refugees. Estonian logistics experts have helped to build refugee camps in Jordan and we have participated in the UN mission on the border between Turkey and Syria, about the movement of humanitarian cargo.</p> <p>It is extremely important to prevent the movement of foreign fighters to Middle Eastern conflict regions. This also directly concerns Estonia. Last autumn, the UN adopted a resolution against the phenomenon of foreign fighters, which we are currently preparing for internal implementation. The Ministry of Justice is preparing a respective analysis in order to specify the scope of the necessary legislative amendments.</p> <p>Secondly, the extremely severe crisis situation in Libya is affecting the stability of the entire Sahel region and is amplifying the activities of various terrorist groups: from Boko Haram in Nigeria to Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Libya is also one of the main departure points for refugees heading for Europe. Considering the impact of such a situation on Africa and Europe, a permanent solution must be found for the Libyan crisis. We are pleased that the UN-led efforts to achieve broad-based negotiations have shown their first promisiong results.</p> <p>As was already mentioned, due to these crisis situations, the problem of refugees is becoming ever more acute. Mediterranean European countries are under heavy burden. The management of migration flows is a problem for the whole of the European Union. Estonia has continued to provide financial and technical support to that end. We support the European Union’s external borders management agency Frontex with expertise and by actively participating in operations, training and capacity building activities. This year, Estonian experts and a Border Guard speedboat participated in the joint Triton operation on the Mediterranean</p> <p>As regards the global security, it is also important that a constructive outcome of the E3+3 Iran nuclear negotiations can be reached by the July deadline at the latest.</p> <p>Honourable Riigikogu,</p> <p>In order to ensure Estonia’s national security, we have taken an active role in international organizations and multilateral relations. We have participated and continue to participate in a number of missions under the auspices of NATO, the UN and the European Union. Also, following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, we do not want to become consumers of security. This is why we must strive to contribute to a variety of military, humanitarian and civilian missions. In this way, we contribute to security outside our home region.</p> <p>During the last year, the NATO ISAF operation in Afghanistan was completed, which was the largest operation in the Alliance’s history. Together with our NATO allies and partners, we will continue within the framework of a new training mission. Currently, Estonian peacekeepers are participating in UN missions in the Middle East and Mali. The Riigikogu is also considering participation in the UN mission in Lebanon, within the framework of which we are closely cooperating with Finland.</p> <p>As you well know, in addition to good and essential bilateral relations, we also have multilateral cooperative frameworks with Finland, as well as other Nordic and Baltic neighbours. Last year was also the Baltic Sea Year for Estonia, since we were leading in three regional structures at once <strong>– </strong>Baltic Cooperation, Nordic-Baltic Cooperation and the Council of the Baltic Sea States.</p> <p>Cooperation among the three Baltic countries is directed to practical projects. Within the year, we took a big step towards the mutual use of digital signatures. We also made significant progress in the area of the Rail Baltic project.</p> <p>In the regional dimension, energy security is of great importance. In February of last year, Estonia and Finland finished the construction of the electrical cable Estlink 2 that together with Estlink 1 has fully integrated Estonia in the Nordic electricity market. This year it is important to begin preparations for the construction of the liquefied natural gas terminal and the Balticconnector gas pipeline between Estonia and Finland.</p> <p>In the past year, a joint cyber-security seminar was conducted between the Nordic countries, Baltic countries and the U.S., where agreements on a number of specific projects were reached. Cooperation between the United States and Estonia in the field of cyber-security, framed by a joint statement signed at the end of 2013, has been close and efficient. Several such cooperation projects have great potential for facilitating cyber-security in third countries. Cooperation between the U.S. and Estonia as a whole is very active and covers almost all areas, from defence cooperation to education and joint scientific projects.</p> <p>In the cyber area, I would like to emphasize the ambitious e-residency initiative, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has its own role in implementing. E-residency is a unique solution in the world, which gives foreigners the opportunity to use Estonia's e-services from whichever part of the world they happen to be located. As soon as preparations are complete, we will be ready to issue digital identity cards to future e-residents in our Embassies.</p> <p>There is also a clear security policy element for us in transatlantic trade and investment partnership, where during 2014 an important step was taken in the context of the European Union-U.S. trade agreement. We hope that talks will continue rapidly, since the conclusion of this agreement could become the foreign policy event with the most important long-term positive impact this year and perhaps even this decade.</p> <p>Esteemed Riigikogu,</p> <p>The field of Estonian business diplomacy activities has expanded from year to year. This both in geographical terms and in terms of activities of our companies. Support for business is provided by Embassies, as well as by representatives of Enterprise Estonia. We have extended capabilities for supporting Estonian entrepreneurs in Central Asia and in the Arab countries. Our diplomats now reside in Azerbaijan and also temporarily in Saudi Arabia. Due to strengthened relations with Moldova, last year we decided to send a diplomat to Chisinau. In cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we organized the Africa Forum that attracted great interest.</p> <p>We have continued to develop the network and infrastructure of Estonian Embassies. A few weeks ago I was visiting China, where I had the honour of opening the newest Estonian Embassy building. Relations between Estonia and China are good and the contemporary Embassy building will certainly create additional opportunities for their further development. This year we will open an Embassy in Bucharest, the capital of the largest country in south-eastern Europe, which, located on the external border of the European Union and NATO, plays a significant role in shaping European security. Last year, we opened the first ever Estonian Embassy in Latin America, in Brazil, which is intended to promote economic ties and contacts. One of the most popular destinations for work and travel among Estonian citizens is Australia, where this year we will raise the level of our representation from a Consulate General to an Embassy.</p> <p>On the subject of consular incidents, I cannot but mention the pending court case in India of 14 Estonian crew members of anti-piracy vessel. This is an extremely unfortunate situation which also due to its unreasonably long duration, is casting a shadow on Estonian-Indian good relations. We will continue to support the Estonian citizens in this case, as much as is possible and we shall wait for a resolution of the situation from India, so that the Estonian men can return home to their waiting families.</p> <p>Honourable Riigikogu,</p> <p>This year has been declared the year of development and development assistance by the European Union. Estonia has increased its development assistance year by year. Last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ development assistance amounted to 9.8 million euros, which is to grow this year by a further 2.1 million. The vast majority of the development assistance has been directed to Afghanistan, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tajikistan. However, the assistance was also shared elsewhere; for example, in Palestine and Tunisia, where we support the development of e-government. It is important to add that participation in development projects provides further opportunities for Estonian companies.</p> <p>Estonia´s humanitarian aid has also increased significantly, amounting to 2.7 million euros in 2014. Attention has to be paid to both new and long-term crises. Last year, Estonia provided humanitarian aid (530,000 euros) to victims of the conflict in Ukraine, and as was already previously mentioned, the internal refugees in Syria and Iraq (approx. 580,000 euros and 270,000 euros respectively). In addition, we have assisted fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (with 360,000 euros). Estonian Rescue Team experts have participated in missions in the Philippines and in Bosnia and Herzegovina, helping to remedy the aftermath of natural disasters. Among long-term crises, ongoing support was required by the Central African Republic, the situation in Gaza and in South Sudan.</p> <p>Now about the United Nations.</p> <p>This year, two of the most important agreements are about the the new sustainable development goals for the year 2030 and the global climate agreement to be concluded in Paris. The goal of both is actually the same – an economic model that is more resource sufficient, which would help improve quality of life even in regions dealing with the most complicated situations.</p> <p>It probably does not need a long explanation of how developments taking place in states affected by water scarcity, desertification or rising sea levels due to extreme environmental conditions can also affect our own region. In addition to climate considerations, the goals that have been set also have another important purpose – the need to promote the economy of scarce and non-renewable resources sparingly and leave as little a footprint as possible. The world's population is continuing to grow. The desire for better living standards is increasing. Consumption is expanding. There are no new inexhaustible natural resources. This means that the winners in the future will be those, who will be able to use few resources as cleanly and efficiently as possible. Estonia has the opportunity to share its experience in this field. Our e-services and the e-government are examples of how more could be done with less. In Estonia, we have also been able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions almost twofold since 1990, without our economic development being negatively affected by this in any way. I will also mention a third reason for supporting decreasing emissions of CO2 and dependence on fossil fuels. This once again relates to security. Greater freedom from the dependence on non-renewable, mostly fossil energy sources will provide much-needed freedom for countries that due to their external energy dependence may feel the threat of manipulation during critical moments.</p> <p>Estonia supports concluding an ambitious climate change agreement in Paris, involving as many countries as possible.</p> <p>In addition to sustainable development, Estonia is to focus its UN-related activities on the protection of human rights. The keywords here are the rights of women and children, the situation with indigenous peoples and freedom of expression. In the conflicts previously mentioned, women and children represent the largest number of victims. It is important to continue to comply with the objectives of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, since they are related to the safety of women and children.</p> <p>Improving the situation of indigenous peoples is an extremely broad and multifaceted field. It is necessary to ensure the protection of their places of residence and their involvement in decision-making processes that affect them. Estonia has supported the UN Fund for Indigenous Peoples and the respective forum.</p> <p>We pay great attention to the protection of the freedom of expression, which is one of the foundations of a democratic society. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2013–2015, we emphasize freedom of expression.</p> <p>Freedom of expression is directly related to Internet freedom. As a leader of the Freedom Online Coalition, last spring we organized a representative international conference in Tallinn which brought together over 400 participants from 62 countries. Many of the countries were represented on a high political level. The conference adopted the Tallinn Agenda, which lists the recommendations on how to protect Internet freedom in the future.</p> <p>Honourable Riigikogu,</p> <p>For the years 2020-2021 Estonia has set a goal to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Membership in the Security Council is an effort indeed, but it also offers an opportunity to have a say in making the most important decisions. The work to support Estonia’s candidature will continue in the coming years and the upcoming Parliament will definitely have the opportunity to help along with this process.</p> <p>To all those listening in this hall and beyond,</p> <p>The Estonia’s foreign and security policy situation today is firm. Over the last two decades, we have been working hard to reach our foreign policy goals. However, as the past 12 months have demonstrated, we have to be vigilant and see risks when they arise. We need to continue strengthening our security home and abroad. We must be prepared to anticipate changes that are moving in the wrong direction and to adequately respond to changing circumstances. I would like to thank the XII Riigikogu for having your attention focused on foreign policy issues and for close co-operation between the Parliament, Estonian diplomats and the Foreign Ministry as a whole. This has been important for Estonia.</p> <p>The Estonian state lasting forever. Ensuring our security. Protecting our people who are far from home. Contributing to Estonia's economic growth. Promoting the values of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Increasing the influence of our country abroad. These are the foreign policy goals of Estonia.</p> <p>Security begins with us, with our desire to be protected, to bear responsibility and to protect freedom.</p> <p>Thank you for listening!</p></div> </div> </div> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 13:28:24 GMT The Estonian Ambassador to Sweden presented her credentials <p>On Friday, January 30, Estonian Ambassador Merle Pajula presented her letter of credence to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf.</p><p><img src="" alt="" height="322" width="480"></p> <p>While conversing during the ceremony of the presentation of credentials, Ambassador Merle Pajula and King Carl XVI Gustaf confirmed that bilateral relations between Estonia and Sweden are good. “Estonia and Sweden are very close partners, both in the Baltic Sea region, as well as the European Union,” Ambassador Pajula said. “What really stood out in the year 2014, was the great number of political visits, which confirms the active cooperation between our two countries,” she added.</p> <p>According to Pajula, the Estonian and Swedish economies are very closely tied. “Sweden is one of Estonia's most important foreign investors and trading partners,” Pajula said.</p> <p>Merle Pajula has worked at the Foreign Ministry since 1992. From 1992 to 1995, Pajula worked in the&nbsp; Press and Information Department, from 1995 to 1998 she was the Counsellor for Press and Information Affairs at the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki and from 1998 to 2000 the Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Press and Information Department. From 2000 to 2004, Pajula was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, from 2004 to 2006 she worked as the director of the Foreign Relations Department of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu, between 2006 and 2010 as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Finland, from 2010 to 2012 as the Director of the Analysis Office of the Policy Planning Division and from 2012 to 2014 as Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Policy Planning Division.</p> <p>Photos: <a href=""></a></p> <br> PRESS DEPARTMENT<br> (+372) 637 7618<br><a href=""></a><br><a href="" class=" icon-external icon-EE"></a> Wed, 04 Feb 2015 09:09:41 GMT Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus: We want close security cooperation with Sweden <footer class="submitted">24.11.2014 </footer><br> <div class="field field-name-field-cover-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="" title="Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus: We want close security cooperation with Sweden" class="colorbox init-colorbox-processed-processed cboxElement" rel=""><img src="" alt="" height="337" width="480"></a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><p>Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus emphasized today while meeting in Stockholm with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, that Estonia and Sweden are close partners in the Baltic Sea region and in the European Union, who share the same values and have similar positions on major foreign policy issues.</p> <p>Speaking about the security situation in the Baltic Sea region, Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus stressed the need to further intensify cooperation between Estonia and Sweden. "Our views are very similar to those of Sweden and we see threats to the Baltic Sea region and to Europe in the same light. We wish to increase defence cooperation in the framework of Nordic-Baltic cooperation and to use opportunities arising from NATO partnership to the fullest," Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus said. According to the Foreign Minister, defence cooperation with Sweden has been successful, for example in the activities of the European Union's Nordic Battle Group, in the field of cyber-security and in joint exercises, and Sweden is participating in the work of the Baltic Defence College. The Foreign Minister welcomed Sweden's intention to contribute to the activities of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre.</p> <p>On the subject of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Pentus-Rosimannus and Wallström expressed concern over the continued deterioration of the security situation in Eastern Ukraine. "Russia's continued non-compliance with the ceasefire and transporting of military equipment into the territory of Ukraine is unacceptable and is adding tension to the situation," Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus emphasised, stressing that the European Union must closely monitor the situation in Ukraine and take joint action if necessary.</p> <p>Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus also highlighted the close economic ties between Estonia and Sweden. "Sweden is one of Estonia's most important foreign investors and trading partners. Our economies are closely interwoven through everyday business activities," the Foreign Minister said. At 26.5%, Sweden was the largest foreign investor in Estonia in the first half of this year and the largest export market, making up 17.2% of Estonia's exports.</p> <p>The foreign ministers also discussed cyber cooperation and internet freedom. "Internet freedom and the security of cyberspace are not mutually exclusive. The weaving of economic space and cyberspace across borders in the region of the Nordic and Baltic countries requires close cooperation and a greater protection of cyberspace," Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus said.</p> <p>Pentus-Rosimannus and Wallström also spoke about the situation in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East. According to Foreign Minister Pentus-Rosimannus, Estonian supports a two-state solution in the Middle East peace process. "Israel and the Palestinians must reach an agreement for providing security, concerning borders and in other key issues," the Foreign Minister said.</p> <p>The foreign ministers also spoke of Nordic-Baltic regional cooperation and mutual support of each others candidacies in international organizations.</p> <p>Photos from the meeting: <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>PRESS DEPARTMENT<br> (+372) 637 7654<br> (+372) 521 6821<br><a href=""></a><br><a href="" class=" icon-external icon-EE"></a></p></div> </div> </div> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 09:10:50 GMT Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas met with the Prime Minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt <a href="/static/files/014/reinfeldt_roivas.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="Reinfeldt ja Rõivas" src="" title="Reinfeldt ja Rõivas" border="0" hspace="10" vspace="10"></a><br><a name="top"></a><font class="allikas"><a href="" title="Peaminister Taavi Rõivas kohtus Rootsi peaminister Fredrik Reinfeldtiga Stockholmis, 9.05.2014. <p> Foto: Martina Huber/Regeringskansliet">Foto: Martina Huber/Regeringskansliet</a></font><br> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal">Stockholm, 9 May 2014 – Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said at today’s meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt that the relations between Estonia and Sweden are very good, trade between the two countries is on the rise and Sweden’s growing economy offers opportunities for Estonian exporters. </p><p>“The Swedish companies are also satisfied with their investments in Estonia, which are currently growing,” Taavi Rõivas noted. “Still, there is potential to achieve more.”</p> <p>“I believe that Estonia will become even more attractive for the Swedish companies,” the Prime Minister said by referring to the Government’s plan to simplify the business start-up process and the use of digital services for foreigners. “The Estonians have long been doing everyday things digitally and now, the same possibility also opens for foreigners in the form of e-residency. If a Swede has a company or business partner in Estonia, he or she can manage his or her company or sign documents without leaving Sweden.”</p> <p>Also, the European Union’s future after the European Parliament elections was under discussion. Sweden and Estonia are like-minded Member States, who consider it important to remove obstacles to the functioning of the European Union’s single market and ensure the free movement of services.</p> <p>“Estonia is interested in strengthening the competitiveness of the European Union and the development of a digital single market in order to contribute to the creation of new jobs,” the Prime Minister said.</p> <p>Once again, the situation in Ukraine and the region’s security policy was under discussion. Both Rõivas and Reinfeldt acknowledged that Estonia and Sweden have the same views on the issue of Ukraine – Putin’s Russia has interfered in the internal affairs of Ukraine and Russia has not begun to comply with the Geneva Agreement.</p> <p>At the meeting, it was noted, “Such behaviour does not conform to international law and creates tension in the international situation.”</p> <p>It was found at the meeting that the events in Ukraine have raised questions of energy security and the European Union’s high dependency on third countries for energy resources. Prime Minister Rõivas expressed his gladness over the fact that the establishment of NordBalt electrical connection between Lithuania and Sweden is under way. The cable should be activated at the end of 2015.</p> <p>“Its completion has a significant impact on the Baltic electricity market. Together with the establishment of the cable between Lithuania and Poland, which should be completed at the same time, the connection significantly reduces the energy deficit in Lithuania and Latvia,” the Prime Minister said. “It also reduces the price differences between markets in countries in the region.”</p> <p>Rõivas also expressed gratitude to Sweden for transporting our team to the Central Africa; the journey begins today.</p> <p>Photos from the meeting: <a href=""></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Tue, 13 May 2014 12:10:10 GMT The Foreign Ministers of the Baltic, Nordic and Visegrad countries wish to increase European energy security <p>The foreign ministers of the Baltic, Nordic and the Visegrad group countries stated during their meeting in Narva on March 7th, that energy issues are very important from the viewpoint of Europe's security. “Therefore we must set clear targets to increase Europe’s energy independence and to diversify energy sources,” the foreign ministers expressed.</p> <p>Foreign minister Urmas Paet said that the newly opened Estlink 2 submarine cable has tripled the transmission capacity between Finland and Estonia. “Electricity producers and consumers can buy and sell electricity on a significantly larger Northern and Baltic market, which means increased competition and consumers are thereby guaranteed the best electricity price, as well as energy security,” he added.</p> <p>According to Paet, the creation of an Eastern-Baltic common gas market is very important in order to reduce dependence on a single source. "For us, regional projects, improving connections between the Baltic countries, enlarging the gas storage facility in Latvia and the regional LNG terminal are very important," Paet said.<br> Foreign minister Paet also noted that Estonia is waiting for the results of shale gas exploration in Poland and supports innovative approaches for the use of domestic resources.</p> <p>Ministers of the Nordic, Baltic countries and Visegrad countries met for the first time as such a group last year in Gdansk, Poland.</p> <p>Participating at the meeting in Narva on March 6, 7&nbsp; at the invitation of foreign minister Paet were Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard, Norwegian State Secretary Hans Brattskar, Iceland's Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs, Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrius Krivas, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Petr Drulák, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák and Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi.</p> <p><br> PRESS DEPARTMENT<br> 637 7618<br> 533 66 159<br> <a href=""></a></p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 12:16:15 GMT The Foreign Ministers of the Nordic, Baltic and Visegrad countries issued a joint statement regarding the situation in Ukraine <p><b>In the framework of Nordic-Baltic (NB8) and Visegrad (V4) cooperation, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the NB8 and V4 countries met in Narva on 6-7 March and issued the following joint statement:</b><br> &nbsp;</p> <p>The situation in Ukraine is critical. Against a European country an act of aggression has been committed by Russian military forces. Referring to the Statement of the European Council on Ukraine from 6 March 2014, NB8 and V4 Ministers condemn the unprovoked violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation and call on the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its armed forces to the areas of their permanent stationing, in accordance with the relevant agreements. The Ministers call on the Russian Federation to revoke the decision of the Federation Council, which is a violation of international law.</p> <p>We condemn the acts that have further aggravated the situation. The decision to hold an illegitimate referendum in Crimea on accession to the Russian Federation violates the Ukrainian constitution and, as such, is unacceptable.</p> <p>NB8 and V4 countries are ready to support the Government of Ukraine in their pursuit of reforms and encourage decisions demonstrating their will to ensure inclusiveness, by providing the necessary assistance to build a strong, democratic society based on the rule of law and where human rights are respected, including the rights of national, cultural and linguistic minorities.</p> <p>To help Ukraine in this period of transition, we support the establishment of a European Union led Observation Mission, which should be deployed as soon as possible. The Ministers welcome the OSCE monitoring mission. They also expressed support to all international efforts to facilitate solution to the crises.</p> <p>The NB8 and V4 group reaffirms its strong support for Ukraine’s, Moldova’s and Georgia’s goal of further association with the European Union and supports the signing of the Association Agreements in the nearest possible future.</p> <p>The Ministers noted that energy is a critical part of Europe’s security. Therefore, it is essential to accelerate the implementation of goals and activities to increase European energy independence and diversify energy sources. A concrete action plan to achieve this must be established as soon as possible.</p> <p>Photos: <a href="" title=""></a> and <a href="" title=""></a> </p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 12:13:52 GMT Estonia Next Chairman of Internet Freedom Coalition <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <div>On June 17 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet participated in a high-level conference of the countries in the Internet Freedom Coalition, where he accepted the responsibility to lead the coalition from the Netherlands. “Estonia is the next chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition and we will also be organising the annual conference of the coalition in Tallinn next year,” he said. </div><p>In his statement at the meeting, Foreign Minister Paet emphasised that the goal of the Internet Freedom Coalition is to protect and promote the free movement of information in cyberspace. “When the coalition was created in the Netherlands in 2011, Estonia was among the 15 founding members,” said Paet. “The circle of countries that share the same values and way of thinking is expanding, and today the membership of the Internet Freedom Coalition has grown to 21,” he added.</p> <p>Paet stated that the member states of the Internet Freedom Coalition must work in the name of creating, through their close co-operation, readiness to support and protect internet freedom in various places around the world. “Co-operation with international organisations, civil society, and enterprises is also important,” he noted.<br> <br> Foreign Minister Paet also said that Estonia views cyber issues through the lens of general freedoms and human rights. For Estonia, virtual freedom of expression is an indivisible aspect of human rights and supporting freedom of expression on the internet is as important as working to protect and promote all other human rights. “Therefore it is very important for Estonia that we are able to organise the annual meeting of the Internet Freedom Coalition in Tallinn next year,” he emphasised.<br> <br> The foreign minister stated that the keywords for the conference in Tallinn next year will be a free and safe internet. “For example, in Tallinn we want to discuss topics related to freedom of expression on the internet. We will also focus on privacy and transparency, as well as co-operation between the public and private sector,” said the foreign minister, describing the goals of the conference for next year.<br> <br> The Internet Freedom Coalition (IFC) was created during an internet freedom conference in The Hague in 2011 at the initiative of the Dutch Foreign Ministry. Estonia is one of the founding members of the coalition. The coalition focuses on supporting the citizens of countries where internet freedom is restricted. The goal of the coalition is also to develop the dialogue on internet freedom among the state, civil society, and businesses.<br> <br> Additional information on the conference in Tunisia: <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p><br> SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE<br> +372 637 7654<br> <a href=""></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 16:24:29 GMT Estonia Opened Honorary Consulate in Halmstad, Sweden <div class="title">On Monday, 25 March, Foreign Ministry Secretary General for Legal and Consular Affairs Lauri Bambus opened Estonia’s honorary consulate in Halmstad. It is Estonia’s seventh honorary consulate in Sweden. Estonia’s new honorary consul is <b>Jan Erling Lennart Gunnesson</b>. </div><p>Foreign Ministry Secretary General Lauri Bambus said at the opening of the honorary consulate that with each new honorary consulate Estonia gains not just one but many friends, through whom economic, cultural and educational ties between Estonia and Sweden can grown stronger. “For example, our honorary consul in Halmstad has business interests in Estonia, which could help to facilitate economic contacts between the countries. We are also interested in closer IT-related co-operation with the city of Halmstad and the county of Halland,” said Bambus. The honorary consul added that of course the honorary consul will also offer support and advice to any Estonian citizens that are in need.</p> <p>Halland County Elder Lars-Erik Lövdén also spoke at the opening of the honorary consulate, emphasising our unity in the European Union and speaking about Estonia-Sweden economic co-operation.</p> <p>The consular region of Estonia’s new honorary consul is Halland County and Jonköping County. The honorary consulate is located at the address Linjegatan 11, 30250 Halmstad, Sweden. The honorary consulate can be reached by phone at&nbsp; +46702190805 or by email: <a href=""></a>.</p> <p>Estonian Honorary Consul Jan Erling Lennart Gunnesson was born in 1952 in Halland County in south-western Sweden. He graduated from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. Gunnesson has worked in international companies in both the United States and Spain, and currently he is the director of the building supply production and distribution company Dormer Tools AB.</p> <p>In addition to Swedish, the honorary consul also speaks English and Spanish and understands German.</p> <p>Photos from the opening of the honorary consulate: <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE<br> +372 637 7654<br> <a href=""></a><br> <a href="" title=""></a></p> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:24:29 GMT Evelin Ilves met with Queen Silvia of Sweden <h1 class="article_title "> </h1> <img src="" alt="Evelin Ilves kohtus Rootsi kuninganna Silviaga"><p class="date">20.03.2013</p> <p class="articleinfo"> </p> <p>Evelin Ilves, patron of the Estonian Agrenska Foundation, an advisory and development centre that assists children with disabilities and their parents, met yesterday in Stockholm with Queen Silvia, the patron of the Swedish Ågrenska Family Centre.</p> <p>Evelin Ilves and Queen Silvia discussed the future of the Ågrenska Foundation and its Estonian subsidiary fund, which celebrates 10 years in operation this year. At present, additional funding needs to be found for a large-scale project implemented by the Estonian foundation, in order to complete the construction works required to re-design Tammistu Manor near Tartu into an advisory and rehabilitation centre for Estonian children with disabilities and rare diseases and their families. Queen Silvia placed the cornerstore of the centre in 2007.</p> <p>"We also recalled the day when we visited Tammistu with Queen Silvia back in 2007 and placed the cornerstone for the main building. The sky was grey and totally overcast, it rained cats and dogs and the earth was covered with mud, but all the people present – children and their parents, friends, doctors and supporters – were smiling. It was a wonderful, memorable day," told Evelin Ilves.</p> <p>In 2009, the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, also took a closer look at the work done by the Estonian Agrenska Foundation in Tammistu Manor and the progress achieved with the restoration of the manor. The presidential couple paid a visit in September 2007 to the Ågrenska Foundation near Göteborg. In October of the same year, Evelin Ilves accepted the invitation of the Estonian Agrenska Foundation and became a patron of the foundation.</p> <p>Evelin Ilves and Queen Silvia admitted that the Swedish Ågrenska Fondation and its Estonian subsidiary foundation are involved in mutual educational co-operation and both parties will only gain from sharing the experiences of the two countries. "Most certainly, Estonia could use a systemic approach to creating jobs for disabled people and their successful implementation in the labour market, using Sweden as an example," Evelin Ilves added.</p> <p>The Estonian Agrenska Foundation is a subsidiary of the Swedish Ågrenska Foundation, which is a modern advisory and development centre for children with disabilities and rare diseases and their families. The main support services offered involve family counselling, advice on coping and work, helping children with special needs to develop and childcare or temporary respite services for families with children with special needs. The website of the Estonian Agrenska Foundation is available at: <a target="_blank" href=""></a></p> <p><br>Office of the President<br>Public Relations Department<br>Phone +372 631 6229</p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 16:23:03 GMT Evelin Ilves thanked supporters of disabled children in Stockholm <p><b>Evelin Ilves, the patron of the Estonian Agrenska Foundation</b>, an advisory and development centre for disabled children and their families, attended a reception at the Estonian embassy in Stockholm today dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the foundation. Partners past, present and future were invited to attend the event.</p> <p>In addressing her fellow attendees Mrs Ilves thanked all of the people and organisations that had donated time and money to assist disabled children, children suffering from rare diseases and their families.</p> <p>"As its patron I wish the Estonian Agrenska Foundation every success and the determination and drive they need to keep helping these kids and their families," she said. "The contributions that organisations like this make are invaluable."</p> <p>At the reception, which marked 10 years of the foundation, <b>Anders Bengtsson</b>, a representative of Stenströms Skjortfabrik, presented a donation of €50,000, while <b>Lars-Eric Boreström</b>, a representative of Vätterledens Invest AB and Estonia's honorary consul in Gothenburg, donated a selection of his company's lights.</p> <p>Evelin Ilves accepted the foundation's offer to become its patron in 2007 after she and President Ilves had visited the Ågrenska Foundation outside of Gothenburg.</p> <p>"As a doctor I was aware of the medical aspects of rare illnesses and diseases, but it's only as the foundation's patron that I've come to realise how important systematic support services are to these children and their families, and how vital contact is between families whose children have been given the same diagnosis," she said. "Sometimes it can prove even more important to them than medical treatment."</p> <p>As part of her trip to Stockholm Mrs Ilves also met with H.M. Queen Silvia, the patron of the Ågrenska Family Centre in Sweden.</p> <p>The Estonian Agrenska Foundation is an offshoot of the Swedish Ågrenska Foundation and aims to be a cutting edge advisory and development centre for disabled children, children suffering from rare illnesses and diseases and their families in Estonia. The main support services it provides are family counselling, training to enable the families to work and cope with everyday life, assistance designed to ensure that children with special needs grow up to become mature adults and a temporary child care service for the families of these children.</p> <p>The major project the foundation is currently involved in is finding the additional funding needed to complete construction work at Tammistu Manor outside of Tartu, which is being redeveloped as an advisory and rehabilitation centre for disabled children, children with rare diseases and their families. The cornerstone of the centre was laid by Queen Silvia of Sweden in 2007.</p> <p>The website of the Estonian Agrenska Foundation can be found at <a target="_blank" href=""></a></p> <div class="article_title menuhidden"><a href="">Evelin Ilves at the reception of the 10th anniversary of the Agrenska Foundation.</a><br><br></div><p>Office of the President<br>Public Relations Department<br>Phone +372 631 6229</p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 10:07:29 GMT Estonia Would Like to Intensify Nordic-Baltic Co-operation In his annual address to the Riigikogu on Estonia’s foreign policy, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia would like to make co-operation among the Nordic and Baltic countries even more active. “Next year Estonia will chair Baltic co-operation, co-ordinate the work of the NB8, and lead the Council of the Baltic Sea States. We will have a clear chance to encourage closer ties among the Nordic and Baltic countries,” Paet stated. <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <p> Fore Minister Urmas Paet said that as the most integrated country in the region, Estonia’s goal is to strengthen the entire region. “We support Latvia and Lithuania’s accession to the euro zone and the OECD. It is in the interests of Estonia as well as Finland, Latvia and Lithuania that Sweden and Denmark, which do not belong to the euro zone, do not to drift away from the European Union’s core,” he said.<br></p><p> <br> The foreign minister also noted that Poland and Germany, as key countries in the Baltic Sea region, should be more visible. “Estonia would like for both Poland and Germany to see themselves more as Baltic Sea region states,” Paet said. The foreign minister added that he encourages Germany to take an even greater leadership role among the “rational Nordic economies”. As with Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia also supports Poland’s accession to the euro.<br> <br> In his speech the foreign minister also emphasised that for the sake of the development of the Nordic region, it is essential to create fast and modern transportation connections with Western Europe. “We must actively develop the regional infrastructure,” said Paet, who added that&nbsp; 15% of the world’s maritime transport takes place in the Baltic Sea region. “Proper railway connections with the rest of Europe would improve opportunities for travel and increase the region’s competitiveness. The Rail Baltic project serves this goal, and we have already reached the stage of making actual preparations,” stated the foreign minister.<br> <br> Paet said that the creation of energy connections is equally important. “This goal is supported by a functioning single market and equal conditions for energy trade with third countries,” said the foreign minister. Paet noted that this year will bring clarity regarding the regional liquefied natural gas terminal. The completion of Estlink-2 will also bring greater stability in the price of electricity. The NordBalt underwater cable between Lithuania and Sweden is also being built, as are the Lit-Pol-Link from Lithuania to Poland and a new Estonia-Latvia electrical connection. “In this was we will create a Baltic Sea electrical circle. Hopefully we will soon be fully integrated with the entire European energy market and shake off our energy island status,” said Paet.<br> <br> However, the foreign minister also mentioned in his speech that we must work to make sure that what is done in the European Union supports our region’s past success and future goals. “Estonia has indeed re-integrated into Europe, but this doesn’t mean that our attention can now drift from Europe to other topics,” stated Paet. The foreign minister said that our goal was never just to join. “More important than the fact of EU membership is what we do in Europe. What’s important is how we stand for the interests and rights of our people. But also the interests of all of Europe,” he emphasised.</p> <p>Full text of the address: <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE<br> +372 637 7654<br> <a href=""></a><br> <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Fri, 22 Feb 2013 12:40:51 GMT Swedish Estonians Begin Independence Day Celebrations <b>This weekend, the Estonian community in Stockholm is putting on Estival 2013, a three-day cultural celebration marking Estonia's upcoming 95th birthday. </b> <p>Estival, first held in Gothenburg 30 years ago, will feature theater performances, concerts, literary events and art exhibits from Friday to Sunday.</p><p>The event will culminate with a Stockholm gala on Saturday to be attended by 650 guests. Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who was born in Stockholm, has said he will take part in the festivities.</p><p>More information is available on the event's <a href="" target="_blank">website</a>.</p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 10:41:57 GMT Kick-off to the Estonian-Swedish co-operation in the field of healthtech <b><span class="translationeligibleusermessage">A seminar „Technology for Health“ took place in the Estonian Embassy on January 30th. The aim of the event was to bring </span>Estonian health technology companies, clusters and clinics together with their Swedish counterparts.</b> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal"><span class="translationeligibleusermessage"></span><span class="translationeligibleusermessage"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes"></span></span>The overall focus of the seminar was on identifying and bridging the gap between the needs of hospitals on one hand and the possibilities of innovative technical solutions on the other hand. Combined efforts will not only benefit the patiences and hospitals, but will also help to promote the Estonian bio- and healthtech companies to grow. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify">More specifically, the focus was on chronic and <span style="color:black">respiratory diseases, brain diseases/injuries, diabetes and cancer treatment as well as hospital economics in chronic disease management. The seminar continued with workshops on January 31st at the Karolinska Hospital. The Embassy is thankful to Science Park Tehnopol in Tallinn for having the opportunity to host this most successful event.</span> </p> Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:08:35 GMT FM Paet held bilateral defence consultations with the Swedish Minister of Defence Karin Enström <b>At his meeting with Swedish Minister of Defence Karin Enström during the Sälen security conference, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that the bilateral defence co-operation between Estonia and Sweden, which focuses on practical activities, is very successful. “Examples of this practical co-operation are participation in the European Union’s Nordic Battle Group, growing co-operation in defence procurements, participation in the work of the Baltic Defence College, and working together in the field of cyber defence.” </b> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal">Paet noted that Estonia highly values Sweden’s efforts in the European Union Nordic Battle Group. “The Nordic Battle Group has been one of the best-prepared battle groups in the EU,” stated the Estonian foreign minister. “Participation in European Union battle groups is and will remain one of Estonia’s national priorities in the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy,” he added.<br></p><p> Paet also said that Estonia greatly appreciates Sweden’s support to the Baltic Defence College in Tartu. “It is very positive that Sweden has recently decided to continue supporting the college.” </p> <p>The Estonian foreign minister said at the meeting that Nordic-Baltic (NB8) defence co-operation is one of Estonia’s long-term strategic goals. “It will take years and must correspond to practical needs and reciprocal interests,” Paet noted.</p> <p>In talking about co-operation in the area of cyber security, Paet recognised Sweden’s participation in the NATO Collective Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn. “We have always encouraged the Nordic countries to participate in the work of the cyber defence centre, and Sweden has served as a very good example,” he added.</p> <p>Paet emphasised that cyber defence should also be a major topic in the defence co-operation among Nordic and Baltic countries. “Cyber security is essential for protecting our common political and economic space.” </p> <p>MFA SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE<br> +372 637 7654<br> <a href=""></a><br> <a href="" title=""></a></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 14:57:27 GMT FM Urmas Paet in Sälen: Sweden and Finland are NATO’s Closest Allies <b>Speaking at the biggest security conference in Sweden taking place in Sälen on January 13-14, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said: “One could even say that Sweden and Finland are <i>de facto </i>members of NATO. However, actual membership still means something more”. “Taking into consideration the increasingly close co-operation within the European Union, Estonia would be happy to see a Nordic and Baltic region that is as integrated and united as possible,” he added.<br><br></b> Paet also stressed that the protection of NATO and its partners depends on not just the existence of regular military forces, but also the readiness and flexibility to address new threats. He added that it is essential to address <b>cyber security</b> and develop NATO’s ability to deal with cyber threats. “The NATO Collective Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn was created to meet this challenge – to work out new strategies to combat cyber threats and carry out necessary training,” noted the Estonian foreign minister. “Everything that we do in cyberspace has real consequences in the real world. The widespread use of e-solutions in both Estonia and Sweden, as well as other Nordic countries, makes us more vulnerable in that sense.” <p>In addition to cyber security, Paet stated that another challenge for NATO and its partners is declining <b>defence spending</b>, while at the same time some third countries are actually increasing their defence expenditure. “Decreasing defence spending is not sustainable and could lead us to new crises that are even more difficult,” he noted. “Every country must fulfil the obligations it has taken and Europe cannot become a so-called consumer of security,” he added.</p> <p>Foreign Minister Paet emphasised that Estonia is contributing 2% of its GDP to defence spending for the second year in a row. “The 2% criterion was determined by NATO in order to ensure the capability of the alliance,” Paet said.<br> <br> Talking about <b>Afghanistan</b>, Paet noted that the mission in which both Estonia and Sweden are participating has made our own countries much safer. “The Afghanistan mission has confirmed that NATO plays a vital role in backing international security and that allies are capable of working together on a wide-ranging foreign mission,” he said.<br> <br> During his speech Paet also mentioned that from the viewpoint of the Nordic and Baltic region, the decision made at the NATO summit in Chicago last year regarding <b>Baltic air policing</b> was very positive. “Sweden also benefits when Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are better protected. And Sweden's participation in regular air policing exercises in Baltic region strengthens its ties to the alliance even more,” he said.<br> <br> The security conference in Sälen is also being attended by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Swedish Minister of Defence Karin Enström,&nbsp; EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and Swedish Minister of European Union Affairs Birgitta Ohlsson. The security conference is taking place in Sälen for the 20th time. Paet has a meeting scheduled in Sälen with Swedish Minister of Defence Karin Enström.</p><p><a href="/static/files/029/speech__paet_salen_2.docx">Speech in Sälen (full version)</a> </p> <p>Photos: <a href="" title=""></a></p> <p>SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE<br> +372 637 7654<br> <a href=""></a><br> <a href="" title=""></a></p> Tue, 15 Jan 2013 08:17:55 GMT Swedish Trade Council’s delegation paid a visit to Estonia. <p class="Default" style="text-align:justify"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">On October 17-19, a group of 14 Swedish Trade Council’s </span><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">(Exportrådet) export advisers made a study trip to Tallinn. The delegation consisted of STC's regional advisers from Southern and Western part of Sweden, including Gothenburg, Malmö, Örebro, Kalmar, Karlskrona, Halmstad, Jönköping, and Linköping. The aim of the visit was to </span><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:windowtext;mso-ansi-language: EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">present Estonia with its business opportunities, its attractive business climate, to promote bilateral economic relations, and the exchange of useful contacts. </span></b><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB"><b>The visit was organised by the Estonian Embassy in Stockholm in co-operation with the STC’s representation in Tallinn</b>.</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:HyphenationZone>21</w:HyphenationZone> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify;mso-layout-grid-align:none; text-autospace:none"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB"></span></b><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">The two and a half day visit was extremely busy. It was launched already on the way to Tallinn, on a <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Tallink</i> ferry with a mini-seminar. Introduction to the Estonian current economic outlook, a comparative overview of Estonian and Swedish tax systems as well as the introduction of Estonian logistics cluster and its services was on the agenda.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">At the first day in Tallinn, the delegation took part at the Swedish Business Awards 2012 ceremony, including a vigorous and warm speech by the President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves and a lecture by a Swedish Internet sociologist, philosopher, author and music producer Alexander Bard, whose enlightening ideas are very highly appreciated among the Swedes and abroad. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">The second day of the visit was mostly dedicated to getting acquainted with the Estonian e-state with its wide range of services. The delegation also paid a visit to the Stenbock house, with its paperless government information system, and to the Estonian IT Demo center. The success of e-Estonia, which is well known to us, Estonians, is alas, a closed and unknown book for others, who have barely heard about its existence. Therefore, the before mentioned presentations intrigued and evoked a lively discussion, the result of which was a surprising discovery about the cutting edge and secure e-services the Estonian citizens are already so used to. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">The busy schedule finished with visits to two manufacturing companies, the first one being <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">Wahlquist Verkstäder,</i> a Swedish capital based mechanical engineering company, which mainly produces packing devices of dairy products for <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Tetra Pak</i>. The other good example of Estonian manufacturing industry that was visited, was the Norwegian owned textile company <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Protex Balti AS</i>, which among other things, manufactures uniforms for the guards of the Swedish Royal Court.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align:justify"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-GB" lang="EN-GB">The Swedish Trade Council’s headquarters is placed in Stockholm, but with its 60 representations abroad (including Tallinn) its network extends to every continent on the globe. In Sweden, the STC has regional representations in every county. That is altogether 21 offices armed with local export advisers.</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 17:00:03 GMT Seminar for Estonian Entrepreneurs <div>The seminar is organised by the Estonian-Swedish Chamber of Commerce and is directed to Estonian entrepreneurs interested in Swedish market.&nbsp; The speakers will share their experiences of doing business in Sweden and introduce some of the legal aspects with need to knows.</div><div><font face="Cambria" size="3"><span style="FONT-FAMILY: Cambria; FONT-SIZE: 12pt"></span></font></div><br> <div class="MsoNormal"><u>Speakers list:</u><br><br></div> <div class="MsoNormal">Mango Kask, MAQS Law Firm</div> <div class="MsoNormal">Marko Saag, Law Firm GLIMSTEDT</div> <div class="MsoNormal">Rein Malm, RMCAP</div> <div class="MsoNormal">Taave Vahermägi, Kavardi Consulting</div> <div class="MsoNormal">Ivar Veskioja, 1Office Sweden</div> <div class="MsoNormal">Kadri Land, Tallink Silja</div><div class="MsoNormal"><u><br></u></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><u>The seminar will be held on 12th September at 15.00-18.00 in the Estonian Embassy, Tyrgatan 3/3a, Stockholm. The language of presentations will be Estonian.</u></div> <div class="MsoNormal"><br>R.S.V.P to: <a title="" href=""></a>.<br></div><br> Thu, 06 Sep 2012 11:20:57 GMT