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President Kaljulaid: the Baltics are not afraid of migrants or Russians

		President Kaljulaid: the Baltics are not afraid of migrants or Russians © Rene Riisalu

22.11.2016

President Kersti Kaljulaid's response to the EurActiv article "The Brief: Europe's elites rush to hide behind Mutti's skirts".


Dear Euractiv,


In your analysis about Angela Merkel's important decision to stand for the fourth time as Chancellor of Germany and her role in protecting the future of Europe, you state that the Baltics and Central and Eastern Europeans are 'racked with fears about migration or Russia.'

In recent weeks, having read a number of articles that make a similar claim, I feel compelled to step up and set the record straight. Estonia is in no way racked with fears about either migration or Russia.

In the first case, we are calmly carrying out the relocation program agreed between EU member states. Refugees are arriving in Estonia every month and we are working hard to integrate them into Estonian society. So far, not one has left in search of better living conditions or warmer weather.

As to Russia, then, of course, we are aware of our geographic location and under no illusions about our neighbour. Yet we are no more concerned than other allies and like-minded partners in Europe. Security is indivisible, be it in the East of Europe or in the South. Moreover, we are not just consumers, but proud providers of security in various parts of the world where people have faced and still face real dangers.

Indeed, for years Estonia has contributed to global security by participating in various military and peacekeeping operations. We have been present in UN-led missions since 1995 as well as in many NATO and EU operations, including Mali and Central African Republic, where we were the first to react to the French call for support. Estonians are currently in Lebanon, together with Finnish and Irish soldiers on a blue helmets' mission. We also allocate 2% of our GDP to defence, including our own defence according to NATO's Art 3 and provide funds on top of that for Host Nation Support. So, we do take defence matters seriously, but we are not racked by fear.

Indeed, why should we be? Our NATO allies can rely on us to act as agreed in recent summits in Chicago, Wales and Warsaw, our UN Partners have appreciated and respected our role in peacekeeping operations and our European partners know that Estonia is a reliable partners when there is a crisis. Why is it still so hard to believe that we are simply acting in accordance with the new, more unpredictable security environment and not cowering in the corner racked by fears?


Kersti Kaljulaid
President of the Republic of Estonia


Original article on the EurActiv webpage.