British-Estonian relations continue to rub along well in the changed security situation, thanks in no small part to a shared defense and security world-view, Estonia's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, H.E. Viljar Lubi, said in a recent interview given to daily Postimees.
In his interview with Postimees' English-language portal, Ambassador Lubi was able to put a figure on the number of Estonian citizens residing in the U.K., which he stated was around 15,000, adding that while Brexit had complicated things, it was difficult to say if that figure was significantly different than before Britain left the EU.
As to common security philosophies, the ambassador pointed towards the participation of the Royal Navy and other personnel during the Estonian War of Independence, over 100 years ago, as well as more recent cooperation in Afghanistan, but ultimately noted that Britain's contribution to the region via NATO and the U.K.-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) is: "Not only to protect [Estonia], but also to protect themselves," all the more so in the current security situation.
The decision announced earlier this year to double Britain's military contribution to the enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) at Tapa base was a natural corollary of this, Ambassador Lubi added, and the shared view of risks post-February 24, but also necessitated getting creative with the provision of beer – which cannot legally be sold on-base in Estonia – culminating in a workaround involving food and drink trucks parked in a large lot adjacent to the base, the ambassador said.
When asked why British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had not answered the door at Number 10, Downing Street to his Estonian opposite number, Kaja Kallas, when the latter visited the U.K. earlier this month, the ambassador said that this: "Must have been influenced by daily politics in the U.K." (Johnson faced a vote of no-confidence from his own party later on that day, which he survived, but which meant his office would likely have wanted to avoid any paparazzi snaps on the day – ed.) adding that the trip had gone smoothly and that Johnson had personally presented Kallas with a prize awarded by a U.K. think-tank.
The full Postimees English interview, which covers a wide range of topics including the ambassador's reflections on working in the louche district of London (Kensington - ed.), where the embassy is located, more on the defense and security situation, meeting the Queen and his former posting in India is here.
A lengthy interview recently conducted by ERR News with Ambassador Lubi's counterpart in Tallinn, H.E. Ross Allen, focusing primarily on the eFP battlegroup and the current security situation, is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte