Estonia decided it would no longer participate in the cooperation platform between the Central and Eastern European countries and China.
“Estonia will continue to work towards constructive and pragmatic relations with China, which includes advancing EU-China relations in line with the rules-based international order and values such as human rights,” the Estonian foreign ministry announced in a statement.
Estonia participated in the cooperation format of Central and Eastern Europe and China from 2012. The country has not attended any of the meetings of the format after the summit last February.
In December 2021, the then-foreign minister, Eva-Maria Liimets, couldn’t explain why Estonia hadn’t left the cooperation format. She told the Estonian daily, Eesti Päevaleht, that the country takes the format as one of the foreign policy tools available, but also deem important the bilateral EU-China cooperation.
In May 2022, Lithuania left the format and called upon Estonia to do the same.
The cooperation format between the Central and Eastern European countries and China is a diplomatic framework, initiated by China for its cooperation with the countries that formerly were either part of the Soviet Union or under its sphere of influence.
The format’s main purpose is China’s interest to gain bigger influence in Eastern Europe through investments into its infrastructure.