Estonia celebrates anniversary of relations with France, UK, Belgium, Italy and Japan

One hundred years ago, on January 26, 1921, the governments of the members of the Supreme Council of Allied States – France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy and Japan recognized the Republic of Estonia.

On January 27, 1921, the Postmese newspaper announced: “The ultimate recognition – which is, after all, what it means to recognize” de jure “or” by law “- paves the way for the Estonians by the great Western powers. .In the respected family of nationally independent nations. All doubts and mistrust that the Estonian nation, regardless of its thirst for freedom and courage for freedom, can preserve its independence, once and for all the surest of the great Western nations Has been removed with recognition ”.

On January 27, 1921, the Postmese newspaper announced that definitive recognition by the great Western powers opened the way for Estonians to a respected family of independent national nations.

He said in a press release that recognition of great powers led to greater political and regional security and later opened the doors to acts of recognition as well as the possibility of starting friendly relations and increasing economic prosperity. Ministry.

Japan is one of Estonia’s most important trading partners in Asia

“Friendly relations established a hundred years ago are still strong today. France has embassies in Estonia, [the] The UK, Belgium, Italy and Japan and we have close contacts in bilateral and international organizations, ”the ministry said.

On 26 January, the undersecretary for the Estonian Foreign Ministry’s Political Affairs, Rene Tameser, and the Japanese Ambassador to Estonia, Hezim Kitओoka, gathered to celebrate the centenary of official relations between Estonia and Japan.

“It is heartening to see that relations between Japan and Estonia, which have always been good, have grown even more in recent years,” said Tamannakar. “Our aim is to strengthen the economic relations between Estonia and Japan and help Estonian companies to export products and services with high potential. The high-level meetings of the last few years are also testament to our excellent relationship. “

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The then Prime Minister of Estonia, Tavi Roivas, met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in 2016 in Tokyo. Photo by Taono Tuhk.

Japan is one of Estonia’s most important trading partners in Asia. Estonia’s interest in developing electronic state and digital services has increased, while cultural ties are also close. Estonian experts often speak at various forums and municipalities in Japan, the Foreign Ministry said.

Strong ties with France

After the Soviet occupation of Estonia on 6 September 1991, the new Ambassador of Japan to Estonia, Hirokazu Arai, presented Estonian officials with official recognition of Estonia’s independence. On 10 October diplomatic relations were reestablished between the two nations and on 1 January 1993, Japan opened its embassy in Tallinn. Estonia opened its embassy in Tokyo on 4 March 1996.

Another important partner of Estonia on the international scene is France. The cornerstone of the relationship between the two countries is the recognition of the legitimacy of the Republic of Estonia by France, which has never recognized the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union.

Diplomatic relations between Estonia and France after Soviet occupation on 30 August 1991. Both countries maintain strong economic and cultural ties; In the field of defense, both countries closely cooperate both bilaterally and multilaterally.

France was the first great Western power to recognize the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.  Only five days after the award ceremony, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas paid a visit to Estonia and was received by the Supreme Council President Arnold Rutel in Cadrigo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lenart Mari.  Photo by Peeter Langovits from Fahrencina Archives.
France was the first great Western power to recognize the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1991. Exactly five days after the recognition, French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas paid a visit to Estonia and was welcomed to the President of the Supreme Council in Cadrigo. Arnold Rutell, and Minister Lennart Mari. Photo by Peeter Langovits from Fahrencina Archives.

The main areas of defense cooperation are international operations and cyber defense. France is one of the main proponents of the Baltic Air Police Mission, having participated since 2007. France has participated in a number of projects aimed at helping the Baltic states in the defense sector and has supported training in the French Defense Forces. .

Italy is one of the founding members of the NATO Cyber ​​Defense Center

On 26 January 1921, Italy was another great power to recognize Estonia. The first Italian ambassador to Estonia was Agostino DePratis, who presented his credentials in February 1921. In June 1921, Carl Robert Pusta, Estonia’s first diplomatic representative in Italy, presented his credentials while in Paris. The first Estonian ambassador to Rome was Carl Toffer, who presented his credentials in 1927.

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Before World War II, the Italian Cultural Institute was active in Estonia. It is headed by historian Indro Montanelli, a prominent figure in the Italian press.

Italy recognized Estonia on August 27, 1991 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were reestablished on August 31 of the same year. The first Italian ambassador to the restored Republic of Estonia was Carlo Siano. The Estonian Embassy in Rome resumed operations in September 1996.

Estonian Embassy in Rome. Photo from Estonian Foreign Ministry.

Estonia and Italy have a strong defense relationship with Italy, participating in the Baltic Air Policing Mission and being a founding member of the NATO Cyber ​​Defense Center in Tallinn. Italy and Estonia also have a Defense Cooperation Agreement which came into force in 2001. Estonians and Italians served together in a peace mission to Kosovo.

The United Kingdom also recognized the independence of Estonia on 26 January 1921. The United Kingdom has always been a strong supporter of Estonia’s independence and development. The relationship began during the independence of the Estonian War, when the United Kingdom sent a contingent of the Royal Navy to defend the Estonian coast.

A webinar to highlight Estonia-UK relations

Political and trade relations between Estonia and the United Kingdom flourished in the 1920s and 1930s. More than 30% of Estonia’s exports to the United Kingdom were at that time an important trading partner of Estonia.

Britain never recognized Estonia’s destruction in 1940, and reiterated its recognition of Estonia’s independence on August 27, 1991, after the Soviet occupation restored real independence.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries re-established on 5 September 1991, following the reopening of embassies in Tallinn and London.

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Estonian Embassy in London. Photo from Estonian Foreign Ministry.

To celebrate the establishment of diplomatic relations between Estonia and the United Kingdom, the two countries organized a webinar, “100 Years of Diplomatic Relations: Estonia and the United Kingdom”, organized by the University of Cambridge’s Geopolitics Center and Tartu University . , In collaboration with the Estonian Embassy in London, the British Embassy in Tallinn and the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Estonian World broadcast the webinar live and its recording is available for review.

Cover: The Estonian Provisional Legion in London began its work in the spring of 1918. The photo shows 1920 London Embassy staff. Photo from the Estonian Foreign Office archives.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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