At the sitting today, the Foreign Affairs Committee heard about the working plans made according to the Foreign Policy Development Plan and the 2021 budget, as well as about the principles of drafting strategic documents.
The Chairman of the Committee Enn Eesmaa welcomed the fact that the strategic documents accord increasing attention to strengthening foreign trade and developing business diplomacy. He was also pleased about the emphasis on the possible reporting on the Foreign Policy Development Plan, e.g. in the explanatory memorandum of the budget, the consolidated annual report of the state, or the annual discussion on foreign policy. “The Foreign Affairs Committee is strongly advocating for being included, and we are constantly providing input into the process of drafting national and regional strategies,” he added.
The Deputy Chairman of the Committee Marko Mihkelson raised the issue of a possible Asia Strategy for Estonia. He referred to the proposal made by the Foreign Affairs Committee to the Government on drafting Estonia’s Asia Strategy that would reflect Estonia’s long-term plans concerning the developments, opportunities, and challenges taking place in Asia.
“Drafting a comprehensive strategy on the whole Asian region is undoubtedly difficult. At the same time, it is important that Estonia as a country has a clear vision and a plan on how to map out its activities in Asia, and how to use its resources to establish embassies and shape their cooperation,” Mihkelson explained. He added that the visions of other ministries, think tanks, and universities should be taken into consideration next to those of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Mihkelson also emphasised that any fragmentation of foreign policy must be avoided in drafting different strategies. “Every strategy must link up with the priorities of the Foreign Policy Development Plan, and the resources or the specific foreign policy actions needed to fulfil the set objectives must also be provided,” he said.
The Estonian Foreign Policy Development Plan 2030, which was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee in May and the Government in August, sets out the foreign policy goals and the steps to implement these, supports the implementation of the fundamental strategic documents on foreign policy, plans foreign policy activities and instruments, and introduces a strategic planning control system which is the basis for implementing performance-based budgeting.
The Development Plan covers the foreign policy activities of the state until 2030. The implementation of the goals of the Development Plan falls into the remit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary on Political Affairs Rein Tammsaar and Undersecretary on Administrative Affairs Kadri Maasik were also invited to the sitting.
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