The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, said in a response to an EurActiv article that the Baltics were not afraid of migrants or Russians as the article claimed.
Kaljulaid wrote the open letter response to the EurActiv article, “The Brief: Europe’s elites rush to hide behind Mutti’s skirts”, that analysed the German chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to run for the position for the fourth time and claimed that the Baltics and Central and Eastern Europes were “racked with fears about migration or Russia”.
“In recent weeks, having read a number of articles that make a similar claim, I feel compelled to step up and set the record straight,” Kaljulaid said in her response. “Estonia is in no way racked with fears about either migration or Russia.”
“In the first case, we are calmly carrying out the relocation programme agreed between EU member states. Refugees are arriving in Estonia every month and we are working hard to integrate them into [the] Estonian society. So far, not one has left in search of better living conditions or warmer weather.”
As to Russia, the president says, “we are aware of our geographic location and under no illusions about our neighbour. Yet we are no more concerned than other allies and like-minded partners in Europe. Security is indivisible, be it in the east of Europe or in the south. Moreover, we are not just consumers, but proud providers of security in various parts of the world where people have faced and still face real dangers.”
Kaljulaid pointed out that for years, Estonia had contributed to global security by participating in various military and peacekeeping operations.
“We have been present in UN-led missions since 1995 as well as in many NATO and EU operations, including Mali and the Central African Republic, where we were the first to react to the French call for support. Estonians are currently in Lebanon, together with Finnish and Irish soldiers on a blue helmets’ mission. We also allocate 2% of our GDP to defence, including our own defence according to NATO’s Art 3 and provide funds on top of that for Host Nation Support. So, we do take defence matters seriously, but we are not racked by fear.”
“Indeed, why should we be? Our NATO allies can rely on us to act as agreed in recent summits in Chicago, Wales and Warsaw, our UN partners have appreciated and respected our role in peacekeeping operations and our European partners know that Estonia is a reliable partner when there is a crisis. Why is it still so hard to believe that we are simply acting in accordance with the new, more unpredictable security environment and not cowering in the corner racked by fears?” Kaljulaid asks.
Cover: The Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid.