Minister: Other EU states could follow suit on Estonia's stance on Russia

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Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

While only some European Union countries, including Estonia, have expelled diplomats from the Russian Federation in solidarity with the Czech Republic, this does not rule out other countries taking similar steps in future, foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) says.

Speaking at a remote-linked EU foreign ministers meeting, Monday, Liimets said that: "We are currently preparing for the NATO summit, the Europe-U.S. summit, and we have a European Council ahead of us at the end of May. These are areas where preparations are being made, where countries can show their common ground and their unity, and this unity is the basis of our own strength. Of course, we hope too that there will be messages that each member state will give, as a good sense of security arising from these meeting."

At the same time no unifying decision was made by the EU's foreign ministers at Monday's meeting, she said.

The meeting covered the situations in Belarus, the Western Balkans and Afghanistan, in addition to Russia's aggressive behavior in the Czech Republic and also Bulgaria, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday night.

Estonia expelled one Russian diplomat from its soil last month, following connections made between a 2014 explosion at an ammo dump in the Czech Republic which killed two, and the Russian secret service. Latvia and Lithuania also did the same (the latter expelled two diplomats from the Russian Federation), while Russia responded in kind a few days later.

Liimets also talked to U.S. climate commissioner John Kerry Monday, via video link.

Liimets: Crucial for all Estonians, particularly the young, to get their say in the future of Europe

Earlier on Monday, Liimets had noted that Sunday's Europe Day, May 9, underscored the success Estonia had had in its 17 years in the union, along with the need to look to the future.

"Today, as we celebrate Europe Day, we can also take joy from the increased economic prosperity in Estonia, the improved well-being of our people, the development of everyday life, and our increased international influence," Liimets said, according the foreign ministry's website.

"The EU's strength has been tested repeatedly – including over this past year; however, our determination to support one another and find common solutions has endured. This year, the meaning of Europe Day increases in its depth, as we aim to look a little further ahead to the future," Liimets, a former diplomat, went on.

The foreign minister also noted the official launch of the Conference on the Future of Europe, expected to run until the spring of 2022, which welcomes the public's opinions, proposals and ideas about the kind of Europe they would like to live in. Liimets encouraged all Estonian citizens and residents to get involved – young people in particular.

Climate change and the environment, health, economy, social justice, jobs, the EU in the world, digital transformation, European democracy, migration, education, culture, youth, sport and values and rights, rule of law, security and safety all fall within the Conference on the Future of Europe's purview.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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