Kannik: Damage to Estonia's reputation to intesify if Helmes continue

Indrek Kannik.
Indrek Kannik. Source: Estonian office of the Eastern Partnership (EaP).

Indrek Kannik, shortly starting as director of the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) told Vikerraadio show "Välistund" Monday that Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) statements about the presidential elections in the U.S. are definitely harmful to Estonia's reputation, adding the damage is not irreparable.

"Damage has definitely been caused. Statements like this from the members of the government leave their mark. The U.S. embassy will note it down, the Washington Post article will be noticed," Kannik said (the Washington Post reported both on Mart Helme's initial words and on his resignation - ed.).

At the same time, Kannik emphasized that the harm is not irreparable. "It can be smoothed out. This will be done by certain politicians and diplomats, and it is possible to carry out a couple of times. If these kinds of things continue, however, the damage will intesify of course," Kannik said.

Top U.S. daily The Washington Post brought out the reactions of politicians in allied countries to Biden's win, announced Saturday. Amongst the doubters, the newspaper referenced Estonia and the statements made by Mart and Martin Helme on the Tre Raadio broadcast sunday.

"Trump not winning hurt the anti-immigration groups. Estonian Minister of the Interior Mart Helme claimed on Sunday, that the voting results were falsified and civil war can be expected," Washinton Post wrote.

MP Oudekki Loone (Center), a member of the National Defense Committee at the Riigikogu, also commented on the topic, finding that the relations between Estonia and the U.S. are so strong that one line in the Washington Post will not change things. "I think that the relations between Estonia and the U.S. are reasonable, and a little turbulence won't shake them," Loone said.

Marko Mihkelson, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Riigikogu (Reform Party), said that this was not a single and accidental misuse of words, however. "Both Mart and Martin Helme have also purposefully damaged Estonia's international reputation in previous months, showing that Estonia does not have one foreign policy, but two foreign policies," said Mihkelson.

Mart Helme stepped down on Monday. Martin Helme remains as finance minister after a vote of no-confidence in him failed at the Riigikogu Monday.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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