Estonian American National Council (EANC) leadership recently took part in a video conference with the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Tallinn, Brian Roraff. EANC President Marju Rink-Abel and Vice President Mai-Liis Bartling represented EANC, with Washington, DC Director Karin Shuey and Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) Managing Director Karl Altau also participating in the call. Chargé Roraff has been in his post as the acting chief of mission since July 2019.
Topics of discussion included the Three Seas Summit that was held in Tallinn in October 2020; Estonia’s work as a member of the United Nations Security Council; growing cooperation between Estonia and the U.S. Agency for International Development to support democratic governance, human rights, and digital development in Eastern Europe and Africa; defense cooperation, both bilaterally and through NATO; recent visits by U.S. officials; and how the embassy’s work and programs have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information on many of these topics is available in the News and Events section of the embassy’s website at ee.usembassy.gov.
EANC briefed the embassy on the Estonian government’s program under the Minister of Population to increase cooperation with the more than 200,000 Estonians living abroad. Goals of the program include developing language and cultural resources for the Estonian diaspora, improving consular services for Estonian citizens abroad, and better supporting Estonians seeking to return to Estonia. The program is due to be presented to Parliament by the end of this year. Please see siseministeerium.ee for more information.
The Chargé identified people-to-people contacts, sister city partnerships, and programs through the Estonian government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the foundation for the solid relationship the two countries share. He also confirmed that military exercises and training continue and have not been substantively impacted by COVID. Chargé Roraff emphasized that the United States and Estonia have developed an important partnership on many levels for over two decades that will only continue and deepen in the future.
EANC will continue its contacts with the Department of State and Embassy Tallinn on these topics and will keep the Estonian community in the U.S. informed of updates.