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The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson took part in the discussion of foreign policy in the Riigikogu on Thursday, saying that the two main strategic objectives of Estonia’s foreign policy during the next decade are stronger security environment and international competitiveness.

In addition, Mihkelson proposed creating a portfolio of foreign trade minister after the parliamentary elections next year. The minister would commit one hundred percent on strengthening Estonia’s positions on foreign markets as the leader of “Team Estonia”. The model for this comes from Finland.

“I will never tire repeating – never before have we had as many friends and allies as we do now. It is a priceless asset for Estonia’s foreign policy, which enables us to face the future without fear,” Mihkelson said on the subject of Estonia’s security environment.

“The coming years will be very important in expanding the Nordic security cooperation, integrating the Eastern Partnership countries into the Euro-Atlantic space, and increasing the collective defence capacity of NATO, especially after the end of the Afghanistan mission,” Mihkelson said.

Yet Estonia cannot dedicate its efforts to deterrence alone. Consistent diplomatic activities targeted at Russia and proceeding from our national interests will play an important role.

Another important strategic aim in the coming years, according to Mihkelson, is increasing the international competitiveness of Estonia.

“Some of our greatest domestic concerns today are the lagging economic growth and the limited openness to the division of labour in the world economy. If we want to reduce economic migration from Estonia and increase the number of well-paid jobs, we have to use a whole range of resources for connecting Estonia with the dynamic global growth centres over the next decade,” Mihkelson said. He highlighted Estonia’s activities in relation to Asia.

Although Mihkelson admitted that foreign economic policy has been one of the keywords in the activities of the government during the last years, he deplored the lack of coordination between ministries and agencies. He proposed that a foreign trade committee be created to better coordinate the work of the government, just like was done with the Security Committee.

Mihkelson also talked about Estonian-Russian border treaty, issues related to Ukraine and the Eastern Partnership.

The first debate on foreign policy was held in the Riigikogu exactly 20 years ago, on 17 February 1994.