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Toomas Hendrik Ilves: Biden good for Estonia but not the government

Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Racist and sexists remarks by members of the government have set Estonia back in USA and a close relationship is not in the cards should Joe Biden become president, former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in an interview to ERR.

"That will definitely not happen under Biden. Biden has been the greatest supporter, among people of his political caliber, of transatlantic relations. I first met him 32 years ago. He found Europe very interesting already back then. Biden concentrated on Europe throughout his term as vice president as President Barack Obama concentrated more on domestic policy. Biden is an expert on Eastern Europe," Ilves said.

The former president said that while Biden is good for Estonia, he is not for the country's current government. "In a situation where the U.S. will have a black female vice president, remarks such as "the daddies have come home" and "show blacks the door" do not have the potential to foster a close relationship. We can say that we have always maintained good relations with USA – I'm not convinced the U.S. will have a close relationship with this government. Perhaps people in Estonia do not realize just how unacceptable the language used by the government really is," Ilves said, adding that the entire government is responsible for what its members say.

"It is harm done to the Estonian people. And the result is inevitable. Estonia has been grouped together with Poland and Hungary, which is what this government wanted – not to be a Nordic country. The results are here. All these juvenile racing, sexist jokes really mean that we are not doing well. I cannot really see frequent state visits between Tallinn and Washington in our future," Ilves said.

Talking about Biden's foreign policy preferences, Ilves said that America's China policy will become tougher. "There was a lot of clamoring by Trump but the steps taken were not very effective. At the same time, verbal abuse, insults and harassment aimed at Europe that we have witnessed over the last four years will end," Ilves said, adding that USA is also likely to stop making friends with dictatorships.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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