German Ambassador Anette Klein says in an interview that while the unprovoked and illegal attack of Russia against Ukraine and its implications take up most of her attention in Estonia, the West's response needs to be coordinated, which is a strong point of Ukraine support.
What impressed you most during your work abroad?
I learned a lot about myself and others in exceptional situations, working for the OSCE in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996/7), at the German Embassy in Afghanistan (2005 – 2007), and supporting the Foreign Office's crisis team after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, and during two close encounters with hurricanes in Miami. Every country I visited was fascinating in its own way and I certainly discovered a multitude of ways to achieve good results and solutions.
What does a normal working day look like?
There is no normal working day. Every day is different. That is part of the attraction of my job. I usually summarize embassies as being the eyes, mouth and ears of the Federal Government. As we also evaluate and write down the information, maybe I should add the fingers, too. In essence, my work consists
of exchanging information – on paper, digitalized or in person. It is particularly enjoyable when you can travel in the host country, meet the many different people living there, participate in discussions and thus get a better understanding of the country, as well as its past, its present and what people hope the future will bring.
What are your tasks in Estonia?
The unprovoked and illegal attack of Russia against Ukraine and its implications take up most of my attention. However, times of crisis can actually speed up work on topics that were already high on the agenda before, such as energy security, energy transition, climate policy, and– with misinformation as the flip side of social media – media literacy. Germany and Estonia are very much on the same page on these issues and can develop our positions in mutually beneficial exchanges. We can also propagate our vision further, bilaterally or within
the framework of the European Union, as just one example. Many German decision-makers are very interested in digitalization and the paths Estonia has taken and is still pursuing in this area and consult their Estonian counterparts. The Embassy prepares and supports their visits to Estonia. Among the many other issues, I really need to mention the cultural cooperation and our focus on education. Many Estonians learn German and there is a great deal of exchange in the field of fine arts and our yearly German Festival in cooperation with German and Estonian stakeholders "Saksa Kevad" – probably well known to most Estonians.
For many people in the Baltics, Germany's military restraint towards the Russian war against Ukraine is unclear. Can you explain this?
Ukraine has the full support of Germany in this war. I am afraid a proper analysis goes beyond a few lines in an interview. We all feel a strong impulse to support Ukraine as best we can. It does not make sense, though, if everyone just goes
ahead and does what they think best. Our approach and actions must be and are coordinated within NATO, the EU, the G7 and when presenting initiatives of these organizations to the United Nations. This coordinated approach is the strong point of our support to Ukraine. I am very impressed by the engagement of Estonia.
Russia used to be one of Estonia's largest economic partners. Nowadays, Germany is a bigger export partner than Russia. However, the rate of German imports is higher than the export rate. Do you think that the export rate to Germany could increase?
I only arrived at the end of July and my learning curve is still very steep. Trying to answer this question would be daring. One area is obvious: Estonia has enormous potential to produce and export renewable energies, eventually.
What have you liked most about Estonia so far?
I love the many different kinds of bread, I really appreciate kama (a milled flour mixture for breakfast) which I did not know before, and I am fascinated by
the language. While my progress is minimal, unfortunately, I am getting quite good at divining the meaning of some (written!) Estonian words by way of their
German, Swedish and Dutch roots. I love the fact that Estonia proves that digitalization and a love of nature go so well together.
The interview was originally published in the Baltic Business Quarterly, which is a publication of the German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce (AHK) and is released four times a year.
Editor: Marcus Turovski
Source: Baltic Business Quarterly