Advocacy

EANC Interview with Speaker of Parliament Eiki Nestor June 27, 2017

The Speaker of the Estonian Parliament Eiki Nestor was in Washington June 26-28 for a Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) conference to foster transatlantic relations.  The NB8 includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden in a format that focuses on regional cooperation.  Parliamentary speakers from all nations except Denmark took part in the visit.

EANC President Marju Rink-Abel and Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey were given the opportunity to interview Speaker Nestor.  While not direct quotes, the answers below reflect the substance of Speaker Nestor’s responses.

Speakers

House Speaker Ryan met with his Nordic-Baltic counterparts, including Estonian Eiki Nestor (far right), on June 28th.  Photo by Tomas Enqvist.

  1. The purpose of your visit to the U.S. is the Nordic-Baltic 8 conference in Washington, being held from June 26-28.  What are the important topics discussed?  Have any decisions or agreements been reached?

Answer:  Meetings were held with Speaker Paul Ryan, the State Department, Commerce, the Vice President’s staff, Senator Menendez and other offices. Discussions have been frank.  The NB8 is based on common regional understanding even without common memberships in European and transatlantic organizations (i.e., some members belong to NATO, others to the EU, and some to both).  We’ve made recent visits to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova to encourage politicians and NGOs to work toward independence and being part of the Western world.  If we lose those countries, they’re likely to fall into Russian influence.  The NB8 works to both secure ourselves and to help the vulnerable nations in Europe.  The Baltic nations serve as bridge for higher aspirations, showing what is possible to those facing challenges.

In the U.S., the NB8 seeks to relate to the larger Congress and Administration.  We want to hear what’s going on here and don’t want to be left alone.  We work to strengthen transatlantic ties and to convince officials here that those ties are in the interest of the U.S., too.

In our meeting with Senator Menendez (D-NJ), he affirmed the U.S. commitment to NATO’s Article 5.  His comments were reassuring, stating that it is easy to find common ground and strong partners in Congress.  [Highlights from the meeting with Speaker Ryan are provided below.]

  1. Security of the Baltic Sea region is a major concern not only to the Baltic peoples but also to Baltic Americans.  What is the latest information about Russian incursions into Estonian airspace and other means of intimidation?  What deterrence approaches are working and what more needs to be done?

Answer:  Good Nordic and NATO cooperation and boots on the ground are very important.  Russia is not much different from the Soviet Union – its behavior is based on the face of the enemy and its leader must protect Russia from that enemy, which now is NATO and the EU.  No one believed Russia would invade Crimea or start a war in Ukraine.  We are in favor of sanctions and it’s important to understand that Russia acted first.  Their upcoming Zapad exercise (on the Belarus border) will be larger than previous exercises.  There are big concerns in Estonia that we need to be well-integrated in NATO and the EU.  Why would Russia spend so much money in an area where they have no interest?

  1. What is the anxiety level among the population in Estonia?  Is there a difference in the Russian-speaking minority?  What steps is the Estonian government taking in this regard?  Are there specific actions aimed at the Russian speakers?

Answer:  Estonia launched ETV+, a Russian-language TV station in 2015 and it’s working well but it’s similar to Estonians watching Finnish TV during the Cold War – people are free to make their own choices. Social media disinformation is easy to propagate and it can be difficult to change to a new channel.  We can’t integrate the Russian population just through TV.  Younger people with Estonian education are more comfortable. Others miss the Soviet Union and aren’t comfortable in a Western environment.  Russian citizens in Estonia don’t think they need any kind of protection from Russia.  They see life in Ivangorod, are content where they are and don’t feel threatened.  Politicians need to avoid creating a political climate where Russian speakers grow up into enemies of Estonia.

On an encouraging note, Estonia is the only new democracy in Europe with two years of positive population growth.  Some who left for other parts of the EU are now coming back – and a big draw is to get their children educated in Estonia’s strong school system.

  1. What are the primary agenda items for the Riigikogu?  What do you hope to accomplish before the next Riigikogu elections in 2019?

Answer:  Presidency of the EU is the #1 focus.  Meetings with the European Parliament have already started.  Opening ceremonies are on July 4th and Estonians are well-prepared for the job, hoping to cultivate better understanding both ways.  We will promote the uniqueness of Estonian digital life, digital government and cooperation as tools against terrorism.

On a national level, we will promote local government and state reforms and have ideas for a new pension system.  Foreign policy and defense policy will remain strong and active; those are two committees in Parliament that work well in consensus despite the current six party system.

Nestor interview

EANC President Marju Rink-Abel (center) and Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey interview Estonian Speaker of Parliament Eiki Nestor.  Photo courtesy of Riigikogu.

  1. Estonians abroad, as well as activists in Estonia, have stated that they oppose the yet-to-be ratified boundary agreement (piirileping) with Russia.  What are the benefits to Estonia that will come from this agreement?  Considering recent Russian aggressive actions, why should any such important agreement be considered by the Riigikogu?

Answer:  A clear border with Russia is in Estonia’s security interest.  The Tartu Rahuleping is a holy document but would take huge changes in Russia to ratify, and Estonia won’t ratify it if Russia doesn’t.  Russia has said repeatedly that it’s “not a good moment.”  To have a signed agreement is not against the Tartu Rahu, though it probably won’t happen in the next two years.  The Zapad exercise contradicts the possibility that Russia will “find a good moment” anytime soon.

  1. How familiar are you with the activities of Estonian Americans, particularly in the political sector?  What can the diaspora do to help Estonia’s security in the future?

Answer:  I read Vaba Eesti Sõna regularly and encourage you to be proud Estonians.  Keep the language and culture going and keep your children and grandchildren interested.  Explain where Estonia is to your friends.  The Embassy here is very professional and very good at advocacy. The EU presidency also helps.

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers in the USA?

Answer:  Don’t worry – Estonia is independent, free, and well-developed.  Lots of countries are trying to follow our example.  Good luck, be proud, and we hope to see you in Tallinn next year to celebrate our great 100-year milestone!

A press release from the Riigikogu at the end of the trip summed up Speaker Nestor’s impressions.  He stated that the joint visit went better than the NB8 group expected when they planned the trip late last year.  Since transatlantic relations were the main focus of this trip, reinforcement of firm U.S. support for NATO and Article 5 was well-received.  House Speaker Ryan’s office issued a statement after his meeting with the delegation stating that “Interparliamentary cooperation is a bedrock of our transatlantic alliances.  Together, we are determined to work toward a more safe and secure future…”  The Riigikogu’s press release, dated Thursday, 29.06.2017, is available on its website.  Speaker Ryan’s is posted at www.speaker.gov, dated June 28, 2017.

EANC thanks Speaker Nestor and his office for making the interview possible.  We wish them and Estonia the best in its term in the EU presidency and look forward to continuing our reporting of news on Estonia from both sides of the Atlantic.

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Advocacy

EANC and JBANC Support Ukraine Advocacy

EANC’s sister organization from the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) representing Ukrainian Americans held an advocacy event on June 14 in Washington to call attention to legislation relevant to ending the conflict in Ukraine.  The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) together with the Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS) sponsored their thrice-yearly “Ukraine Days” advocacy event on June 14th and were reinforced by EANC and JBANC support.

Feinstein meeting

EANC and JBANC reps join Ukrainian-American advocates in meeting with Senator Feinstein Legislative Correspondent Anup Rao (second from left).  Photo courtesy of JBANC.

The program included a morning briefing session with leaders of the Ukrainian-American community from throughout the U.S., followed by visits to both Senate and House members’ offices.  EANC Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey and JBANC Managing Director Karl Altau, along with JBANC interns Lina Sullivan, Ojars Berzins, Elīna Dīce, and Anete Rožukalne, joined the team of Ukrainians from Virginia and California to visit offices representing those states.  During the course of the day, they met with staff working for California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Virginia Representatives Don Beyer and Barbara Comstock.  Since one of the Ukrainian-American advocates was a constituent of Representative Dana Rohrabacher, he made time to meet with the group himself for a lively and sometimes contentious discussion of the issues. This group also included a Crimean Tatar and a Georgian soldier who volunteered in the fighting in eastern Ukraine.  The day ended with a reception in the Capitol, offering another opportunity to discuss issues with Members of Congress and staff and other friends of Ukraine.

This event works in parallel with EANC’s and JBANC’s mission, including JBANC’s biennial security conference, in calling attention to the legislation and issues that impact

Rohrabacher meeting

Representative Rohrabacher (back row, second from right) meets with Ukrainian- and Russian-Americans, along with EANC and JBANC reps.  Photo courtesy of JBANC.

the nations along Russia’s border.   Much of the legislation JBANC supports is the same as that highlighted on this advocacy day.  By reinforcing Ukrainian priorities in Congress, JBANC and EANC also bolster the cause for democracy, border integrity, fair elections, rule of law, military and diplomatic cooperation, and other democratic principles and institutions that form the foundations of European security and a stable world order.

EANC and the other member organizations of the CEEC will continue to work together to keep Congress focused on our common interests.  While the Estonian-American community makes up a small percentage of most congressional district populations, teaming up with the communities from our former Soviet Republic and Warsaw Pact neighbors, our voices become much stronger and more likely to get the attention of our lawmakers.  Our ongoing work with the CEEC produces policy statements and press releases, summaries of relevant legislation that we distribute on the Hill, and forums for Congressional staffers and members of the foreign policy community that draw high-level speakers to shine a light on the hottest topics affecting our region.  For more information on the CEEC, please visit www.ceecoalition.us.

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Advocacy

Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Honors Mart Laar

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VoC) held its tenth annual Roll Call of Nations on June 9th.  The event each year commemorates the more than 100 million victims of communism worldwide and those still living under totalitarian regimes.  Over twenty embassies and other government agencies and thirty nongovernmental organizations took part this year, setting a record for attendance.  Former Lithuanian head of state Dr. Vytautas Landsbergis was the keynote speaker.

Dr. Mart Laar was honored with this year’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.  VoC has awarded the medal annually since 1999 to “individuals and institutions that have demonstrated a life-long commitment to freedom and democracy and opposition to communism and all other forms of tyranny,” as quoted from its website.  The award was presented by VoC Chairman Lee Edwards.

VoC group photo 2017

VoC ceremony group photo.  Photo by Kevin Allen, courtesy VoC.

Laar was the first Prime Minister following Estonia’s re-independence in 1992 and was elected again in 1999.  His leadership in creating an accountable government, implementing free-market reform, and paving the way for Estonia’s membership in the EU, along with his extensive background in human rights and publicizing Estonia’s history of anti-Soviet resistance, earned him the recognition.  Edwards also credited him with Estonia’s ‘Baltic Tiger’ economic reputation and leading the Singing Revolution.  Estonian Deputy Chief of Mission Marki Tihhonova-Kreek accepted the award on Laar’s behalf.

The VoC Memorial Foundation was established in 1993 to educate the public on the crimes of communism and honor the victims of communism around the world.  The memorial itself was dedicated by President George W. Bush in 2007.  Its statue is a replica of the one erected by Chinese students in Tiananmen Square in 1989.   VoC Executive Director Marion Smith noted that it is the only known memorial dedicated to all victims of communism around the world.  He also noted that younger generations are “woefully ignorant” of twentieth century history and the dangers of communism that arose during that time.  VoC is now working toward building a world-class International Museum on Communism in Washington dedicated to education and a historical archive of communism’s tyranny.

EANC supports the VoC and its mission several times each year.  In addition to this event, we take part in the VoC’s observation of the of Black Ribbon Day each August and the commemoration of the March 1949 mass deportations from the Baltic nations.  EANC also provided financial support to the building of the memorial and to the anticipated museum.  We thank VoC for its enduring commitment to keeping the memory of communism’s crimes alive.

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Advocacy

Ambassador Daniel Fried – Keynote Remarks at JBANC Baltic Security Conference – “Our work is not done.”

Please note:  This is an abridged version of Ambassador Fried’s remarks in Washington, DC on May 20, 2017.  For the full version, please see the JBANC website.

Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here with JBANC. I first met with JBANC in 1993.  Back in those days, NATO enlargement even to Poland was considered a dangerous and radical idea, and the NATO enlargement to the Baltics was considered a kind of elaborate rhetorical device not to be taken seriously, and yet here we are, with the EU and NATO having embraced a hundred million Europeans between the Baltic and the Black Sea, who liberated themselves from communism and Soviet domination.  But our work is far from done.  The Free World faces challenges from without, from Russian aggression; and from within, not just from the Russian trolls and bots and useful idiots, but by the doubts within the West itself, as to our purposes and our achievements and our values.

Fried speaking

Ambassador Fried delivering keynote address. Photo by Mariliis Eensalu.

The enlargement of NATO was not done for its own sake. NATO was an instrument of achieving a united Europe, democratic, prosperous, and free for the first time in its history. Credit for that goes to President Clinton – Bill Clinton made the decision to enlarge NATO over the objections of many. The decision to invite the Baltic states to NATO is to the credit of George W. Bush, who might have decided otherwise. And then let’s give full credit to Barack Obama, who ended up supporting sanctions against Russia, and led NATO’s decision to put in its forces and America’s parallel decision to put in national forces into the Baltic states and Poland. So, full credit to three American presidents in a row; very different people who carried out in their own way the same policy and did so successfully.  But the real credit for all of this belongs to the people and governments of the Baltic states.  The Baltic states did what they had to do.  And in doing so, they generated political capital for themselves, which then their friends in the West would use.

What does Putin want?  He wants the empire back, as much of it as he can claw back.  It doesn’t mean he won’t settle for less, but it means he wants as much as he can get.  And he also wants to weaken the institutions of the West in general, because he wants to show that the West is not what it claims to be. He judges us by his own standards, and he thinks we are no more than our worst selves. We need to prove him wrong. And we need to resist Russian aggression. Putin does all of this, because his own rule and Russian autocracy is safe only if democracy is weak, because autocracy at home for Russia depends on democracy being on the defensive abroad.

We have a responsibility to mobilize ourselves to meet the threats, to do and to remember that our work is not done. Our tasks still lie ahead. They include securing what we achieved from Russian aggression; facing up to the problems in the West that have raised such doubts, and never giving up on the notion of freedom in the conviction that our time will come again.

So thank you and thank you to JBANC for all the work and cooperation over so many years.

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Advocacy

Two articles on Western Security and Russia

America’s NATO Problem:  We’ve Forgotten Why We’re a Member, Jeffrey Rathke, Center for Strategic & International Studies (csis.org), May 24, 2017

What Does Russia Want? Commentary by Kadri Liik, European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu), May 26, 2017

These two authors offer perspectives on how conditions in the West have allowed the current low point in relations between Russia and the West to develop.  Jeffrey Rathke is a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington.  Kadri Liik is a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and former director of the International Centre For Defence Studies in Tallinn.  Please see their organizations’ website for the full articles; summaries of each are provided below.100415a-HQ28-010 NATO Headquarters Brussels.

Rathke proposes that “American leaders in both parties have failed in recent decades to explain the strategic benefit of NATO to the United States.”  Much of the American public no longer appreciate the link between European stability and U.S. economic and national security.  Given that the economic relationship between Europe and the West is the largest in the world, the importance of this relationship needs to be clear.

The military relationship with Europe is also vital to U.S. security and interests.  NATO’s roles in deterring any conventional or nuclear threat from Russia, assembling allied forces in security interests on both sides of the Atlantic, and protecting and advancing Western interests and democratic values require “that the European continent not be dominated or destabilized by any adversary.”

Liik provides a thorough look at the evolution of Russia’s status from the Soviet era to the current international order.  Today’s Russia craves great-power status and is offended that the West has not granted it.  While the Kremlin seeks influence over the non-EU/non-NATO countries along its border and to prevent close ties between those counties and the West, therein lies a fundamental clash between spheres of control and the post-Cold War liberal order that emphasizes human rights and democracy.  Russian meddling in Western domestic politics aims to establish a new order, or at least create new rules.

The environment that allows Russia’s interference beyond its borders to begin with is rooted in “the disaffection of Western populations, and the widespread confusion about the Western model.”  The West must first restore the credibility of its own system and values if Russia is to accept the West’s version of the world order.  There is currently no incentive for Russia to do so.  “The West thinks of Russia as of a person stuck in a geocentric worldview…And Russia views the West as a New Age crackpot, trying to cure cancer with homeopathy, and creating catastrophes in the process.”

Both authors agree that platitudes and moral high ground are no longer sufficient arguments for convincing those who doubt the Western model of democracy and peace.  While it may still be valid to affirm that NATO and the EU, along with the principles they stand for, are indispensable to global security, until the Western system gets better at presenting realistic, workable solutions to the world’s problems, Western and Russian goals will remain fundamentally at odds.

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Advocacy

EANC Supports Successful JBANC Conference

The Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) held its biennial conference on Baltic security on 19-20 May in Washington, DC.  World-class experts, diplomats, regional officials, and JBANC and EANC members came together to discuss issues of concern and connect with lawmakers on solidifying their support.

The first day of the conference consisted of meetings with Congressional offices, an afternoon briefing by State Department and Congressional staff, and an evening reception on Capitol Hill.  Conference participants made constituent visits with their Senators’ and Representatives’ foreign affairs staff to highlight funding and legislation that benefit Baltic and European security.  In all, meetings were held with five Senate and two House offices.  Their staffers were knowledgeable on the issues, supportive of our priorities and open to new policy ideas from our organizations.

Ambassadors

Left to right:  Lithuanian American Council President Saulius Kuprys, Latvian Ambassador Andris Teikmanis, Lithuanian Ambassador Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Estonian Deputy Chief of Mission Marki Tihhonova-Kreek

The Friday afternoon briefing took place in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing room, where State Department Senior Advisor to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Scott Rauland and SFRC Legislative Director Chris Socha shared their views on Russia and security in the Baltic region.  They identified several policy priorities, including full enforcement of the Magnitsky sanctions, increasing funding for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA) missions to counter disinformation, getting to the bottom of Russia’s illegal financial operations, and making it clear to the Russian people that the U.S. is on their side and resolute in defending democratic values.  They also mentioned the U.S. and its allies will be watching Russia’s major military exercise, Zapad 2017, planned for this fall along their border with Belarus.  While policy is likely to evolve as more officials are assigned to vacant positions and other developments occur, they expressed confidence in continued support and funding for U.S. security cooperation with the Baltic countries.  Perhaps most significantly, they gave high praise to the diaspora communities for continuing to push on these issues, stating that we wouldn’t see as much progress, knowledge or interest in Congress without these efforts.  They encouraged our groups to continue dialog with leaders in the U.S. and in the European capitals to foster sympathetic voices on both sides of the Atlantic.

The second day of the conference offered two keynote addresses and four panel discussions on timely topics.  Keynote speakers were Ambassadors Kurt Volker and Daniel Fried, who shared the assessments that the U.S. is most healthy, prosperous and successful when other nations are as well, and that what happens in the Baltics truly matters to the U.S.  They expressed confidence in the clear and consistent message of support for NATO that has been voiced by members of the Trump administration so far and expected the President to reinforce that message at the mini NATO summit on May 25th.  NATO’s objective on its eastern border is to maintain a deterrent posture that prevents aggression from the Kremlin by making it clear that there would be nothing to gain from military action there.  Our speakers stated approval of the sanctions and deterrence measures NATO has taken since 2014 and were confident in continued funding and political support for the region.

 

The panel discussions covered security and cooperation topics, including U.S.-Baltic relations; information and cyber warfare; Nordic cooperation in the Baltic Sea region; and economic implications, focusing on Narva’s status on the Russian border.  The first panel pointed out the dangers of preparing for military engagement when corruption, crime and manipulation of information may pose greater threats.  While NATO provides a credible deterrent against armed conflict, resilience to corruption must come from nations through internal trust-building efforts.  The second panel continued on this theme by emphasizing erosion of government trustworthiness as a main goal of disinformation campaigns.  The West has been reluctant to acknowledge that we are engaged in a complex information war that has evolved since the KGB employed its propaganda tactics in the Soviet era, and may be working better than our adversaries expected.  It will remain a challenge until the U.S. and its allies can educate their populations to be more discriminating in their consumption of news and information.

Marju and Fried

EANC President Marju Rink-Abel and keynote speaker Ambassador Daniel Fried

The third panel addressed the long history of Nordic support for Baltic security, starting with their help in the withdrawal of post-Soviet troops from the region, and highlighted the shared defense outlook and threats that the NATO and non-NATO members in the region face.  They noted that Russia has a couple of advantages over the NATO process, in that the Kremlin does not claim any moral high ground and it can act on decisions much more quickly than NATO’s slow process of consensus.  The Nordics are also challenged by Russian rhetoric claiming that NATO’s buildup of troops in the region is offensive rather than a defensive response to the Kremlin’s own belligerent deployments.  While Sweden and Finland are key partners in the region and the EU is also part of the security posture, integration of actual operations among all the actors will require further development of logistical planning and designation of roles for each country.

The final panel started with a discussion on opposition to free trade among transatlantic partners, then turned a spotlight on Narva’s challenges and successes as a border town with Russia.  While Estonia’s third-largest city is only 4% Estonian, is losing about 1000 residents per year (in part due to the death rate), and has high unemployment rates, EU support has helped them create avenues for jobs and foreign investment.  Cross-border economic cooperation with Russia and Latvia reached €11.9 million between 2007 and 2015.  The city is coming out of the negative representation the Estonian media used toward the region during the earlier years of Estonian independence and is getting more support from the government in integrating the Russian-speaking population.

The conference has received wide praise from participants and audience members alike as a first-rate and very informative event with high-quality speakers and panelists.  Reviewers have pointed out that the topics addressed were both important and covered with substance and clarity.  JBANC looks forward to maintaining the momentum with continued contacts with Congress and the Administration and to hosting the next conference in 2019.

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Advocacy

EANC Thanks Ryan Delegation Members

EANC President Marju Rink-Abel issued a letter thanking members of last month’s Congressional Delegation (CODEL) trip that included a stop in Tallinn.  Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey, along with colleagues from the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), delivered the letters in meetings with staffers in the Representatives’ offices.  Eight bipartisan representatives, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, made the trip in the last week of April.  They also made visits to the United Kingdom, Norway, and Poland.  The Members of Congress (MoC) joining Speaker Ryan were:  House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) andLetter to Ryan delegation members Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE).

The CODEL had meetings with President Kersti Kaljulaid, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, and members of Parliament.  They also met with American soldiers and Marines currently stationed in Estonia in support of NATO’s response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.  Speaker Ryan’s office released a summary of their visit, which is available at www.speaker.gov > Menu > search for Estonia.

EANC and JBANC have so far met with six of the eight offices that participated in the trip, generally with the Representatives’ legislative assistants handling foreign affairs.  While some staffers were better versed than others on issues affecting Estonia, all expressed their MoC’s support for NATO, regional stability and continued military funding and engagement.  They recognized the threat posed by Russia’s aggressive behavior and the important message of solidarity this visit represented.  EANC and JBANC emphasized European Reassurance Initiative (ERI) funding and continued Foreign Military Financing as priorities for U.S.-Estonian security cooperation.  Discussions indicated that both have strong bipartisan support and would likely continue at current or even increased levels.  Three bills supporting Ukraine and sanctions against Russia were also highlighted.  Finally, since Congressm

Mast office visit

From left:  Karl Altau (JBANC), Sarah Miller (Rep. Mast staffer), Karin Shuey (EANC), Liv Hega Fears (JBANC).  Photo courtesy of JBANC.

an Meeks was the only House Baltic Caucus (HBC) member on the trip, the others were invited to continue their support for Estonia and the Baltics by joining the caucus.

EANC looks forward to delivering the remaining letters in the coming weeks, forging stronger relationships with current HBC members, and developing new relationships as the caucus grows.  Eleven new members have already joined since the 215th Congress convened in January, bringing HBC membership to 64.  You can check the list for your representative’s name at housebalticcaucus.webs.com/members.  EANC’s work with JBANC will continue to keep our representatives in both chambers of Congress aware of issues important to Estonia and to keep our constituents informed on relevant news from the Hill.

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