The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is set to make 45 staff layoffs and close consulates in New York and San Francisco from the summer of 2024.
In a press release, the ministry said that its economic diplomacy and consular services to the United States will be reorganized. As part of this process, the Estonian Embassy in Washington will be staffed with a consular diplomat and an economic diplomat.
"To ensure the effectiveness and focus of our work, we are reviewing both our network of foreign missions and the consular services we offer in the United States. Supporting business diplomacy and companies in international markets will remain a central focus of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' work, and we are looking at ways to do this more effectively. We plan to expand Estonia's network of honorary consuls, which will provide consular assistance to Estonian citizens as well as help promote Estonia's business interests in the U.S.," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna (Eesti 200).
"In planning savings for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have been guided by the principle that we must be able to continue to successfully carrying out our core tasks, including actively implementing foreign policy. In preparing for potential cuts, we analyzed all departments of the ministry," Tsahkna said.
"The reduction in staff will affect all areas of our activities, including our external representations," he added.
In early September, during an interview with Johannes Tralla on ETV show "Välisilm." Tsahkna declined to say how many foreign missions or consulates might be closed down.
"We will be cutting back on the bureaucracy side of things, mainly staff, while quality will be retained," Tsahkna said at that time.
Editor: Michael Cole