The National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu on Monday expressed its support of Estonia's participation in the World Expo in Dubai in 2020, where companies belonging to the Estonian Defence Industry Association (EDIA) as well as other innovative Estonian companies are interested in participating.
Chairman of the National Cefence Committee Hannes Hanso (SDE) said that the committee had adopted its position by consensus, according to a Riigikogu press release.
"We must go there as a state and be represented," he emphasised. "In Estonia, we have several smart and innovative sectors of the economy, and it would be foolish to let the work and efforts that our companies have made in the Middle East up until now go to waste by not participating in the expo."
After hearing representatives from the Ministry of Defence, the EDIA and other companies, the committee found that the government should support Estonia's participation at the Dubai Expo, noting that the benefits of taking part in the expo would outweigh the expenses involved several times over.
"Taking into account the peculiarities of the Arab region, we know how important it is that the support of the government of [Estonia's] participation at the expo is ensured," Hanso said. "Besides, Estonia has decided to open a diplomatic representation in the region."
National Defence Committee member and Chairman of the Estonian Defence Industry Support Group Margus Tsahkna had no doubts about the necessity of going to the expo and believed that not attending would mean serious damage to Estonia's representation.
"Not participating in the Dubai Expo would send the whole region the message that Estonia is not interested in economic contacts," he said. "It would directly damage the development of our economy, and would not be dignified behaviour toward the organisers."
According to Tsahkna, Dubai's goal is for every European country to take part in the expo. "It has taken the Estonian government a long time to make a decision regarding our participation, and the current situation is that all European countries except Estonia have confirmed their participation," he noted.
Kert: Show them what we are capable of
National Defence Committee member Johannes Kert (Reform) pointed out that the expo is the most visited fair in the world, where Estonia could show all participating countries and visitors what the country's companies are capable of doing.
"Considering the cultural characteristics of the region, I recommend investing in the development of mutual relations continuously and consistently," he added.
The committee was told that Estonia's participation at the expo would not focus only on the defence industry, as the region is seeking smart solutions, as well as companies with the capability to create smart solutions that others do not have, in all sectors.
In addition to the EDIA and the Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL), the Smart City cluster is likewise interested in participating in the Dubai Expo.
Companies in the EDIA with particular interest in the region's markets represent the producers of unmanned systems, cyber defence companies, producers of communications systems and providers of smart border guard and military medicine solutions.
The World Expo in Dubai will take place from October 2020 through April 2021.
Editor: Aili Vahtla