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Hanso: Estonia Should Turn Its Sights on Asia

Source: Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

Speaking at a foreign policy conference in Tallinn today, International Center for Defense Studies expert Hannes Hanso said Estonian foreign policy is too Europe-centered and focuses too little on Asia.

Estonia's small size shouldn't be an excuse to not expand its interests to Asia, he said.

"The Finns and Swedes have been immensely successful in Asia. They aren't superpowers either. It's a matter of attitude," said Hanso, who has both studied and worked in China.

"We should be a little bit more flexible and look at whether the functions that we cover in Europe could be covered in some other way," Hanso said. According to him, only around a dozen of the Estonian Foreign Ministry's roughly 600 employees work in Asia.

Having joined the EU, Eurozone, NATO and the OECD, Estonian foreign policy has run out of steam and has no clear mission, he said.

"Today I get the feeling that [...] the Foreign Ministry is not a foreign policy institution but a foreign policy relations management institution," Hanso said.

The conference titled "Quo vadis, Estonian foreign policy?" was held by Rotalia, a fraternity.

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