West Coast US consulate not going to happen this year

Members of the Estonian foreign affairs committee during their recent visit to the US.
Members of the Estonian foreign affairs committee during their recent visit to the US. Source: ERR Uudised

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Estonia has already announced the possibility of opening an Estonian consulate on the West Coast of the US. However this is not going to happen earlier than 2019, according to spokespersons from the ministry, citing funding factors.

"According to the national budget strategy for 2019-2022, funding for the opening of a mission on the West Coast of the United States has been earmarked from 2019 onwards,'' said spokesperson Liis Toots from the Ministry on Friday 22 June.

''However there is no financial cover for the opening of a new mission in the budget for this year," Ms. Toots went on.

She added that whilst the ministry has started preparations for the opening of the mission, it is still too early to speak about the precise date when the mission is likely to open nor what its exact location will be.

"The West Coast of the US is one theoretical location where Estonia could be represented with a consulate, primarily due to the growing Estonian community and economic cooperation with the region,'' Secretary General of the Ministry Rainer Saks had said back in December.

Los Angeles feasibility

Members of the foreign affairs committee of the Estonian parliament went to America earlier this week to explore the feasibility of the proposed consulate being based in Los Angeles.

"The meetings that we had in LA 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.

Approximately 5,000 Estonians live in the LA area, according to Mr. Mihkelson.

Estonia already has two missions on the East Coast; with a consulate general in New York City in addition to the main Embassy in Washington DC.

Estonia has a further 14 honorary consuls in the country (an honorary consul often being a person who is not a career diplomat as such), two on the West Coast already, in northern and southern California respectively, as well as an investment consultant representative in 'Silicon Valley' in the San Francisco Bay area of California.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: BNS

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