Rumm: Obama Introduced Estonian History and Problems to the World

US President Barack Obama (AP/Scanpix)
9/4/2014 3:50 PM
Category: Politics

Hannes Rumm, the head of the European Commission's representation in Estonia, said President Barack Obama put Estonia on the world map in his speech on Wednesday.

“The fact that Barack Obama had acquainted himself very well with Estonian history is heartwarming. As his speech had an international audience, Barack Obama introduced the history and problems of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania."

Parliament Speaker Eiki Nestor said a similar visit 10 years ago would have had a completely different meaning, as the current world was much more tense.

He said Obama is popular in Estonia as the United States is Estonia's clearest supporter. “He is a US president who is a very friendly person and someone who has a warm handshake – in a direct but also in a wider sense,” Nestor said, adding that many young people listened to the speech and could be inspired to go into politics.

Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar said on a social media site that he failed to spot any EU flags, asking whether that reflected rivalry between EU and NATO.

Speaking about the reason Estonia was picked, Savisaar said Obama could have picked any Eastern Europe nation and added that Toomas Hendrik Ilves's US background could have been the decisive factor.

He said Obama gave a more balanced answer than Ilves to the question whether Ukraine should be given weapons: Savisaar said Obama also spoke about the rights of people living in eastern Ukraine. “Generally Obama was more calm and balanced compared to what we usually expect from the United States. The US president seemed to be as balanced in foreign politics as he is in internal politics. Maybe even a centrist?” said Savisaar, who is the chairman of the Estonian Center Party.


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