Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu currently on a weeklong visit to the US discussed in Los Angeles the possibility of opening an Estonian consulate in California.
"Estonia is planning on opening a consulate in Los Angeles," MP Barbi Pilvre (SDE) said in a video posted by the Riigikogu press service. "It was one of the goals of our visit to examine what possibilities exist and what the best location would be [for the new consulate]."
"The meetings we had in Los Angeles actually confirm that we need a consulate general on the West Coast, especially when it comes to advancing economic relations," said Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson. "And considering that approximately 5,000 Estonians live in the LA area."
"Scandinavian companies, for instance, are sending their representatives to LA on a regular basis to see what is going on and what new things have been invented, because what is invented in California usually reaches Europe with a three-month delay," MP Maire Aunaste (Pro Patria) said.
Ministry: Estonia weighing West Coast mission
"The U.S. West Coast is one possible location where Estonia could be represented with a consulate, mainly due to the growing Estonian community and economic cooperation," Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affirs Rainer Saks told BNS in December. "The West Coast is one location for a new mission that Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) has asked the Foreign Ministry to analyse."
BNS had asked the ministry to comment on an idea voiced by former Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who said that Estonia should have a diplomat in Silicon Valley who would be tasked with contacting and maintaining relations with major innovative companies there.
Estonia is currently represented by two diplomatic missions on the US East Coast — an embassy in Washington as well as a consulate general in New York. Enterprise Estonia also has an investment consultant located in Silicon Valley.
A delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu is on a weeklong working visit to the U.S., where they are visiting Los Angeles and Washington.
Editor: Aili Vahtla