Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) confirmed on Tuesday that the 2020 state budget bill approved by the Estonian government strongly supports Estonia's foreign policy goals and places a lot more emphasis than previously on serving entrepreneurs on foreign markets.
"We are heading into the new year with new opportunities and big goals: we will be serving on the UN Security Council (UNSC); we will be leading Nordic-Baltic ooperation; we will be organizing the Three Seas Initiative summit in Tallinn," Reinsalu said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "This will all have a long-term positive impact on Estonian security, and in a changing world will bring us even closer to our most important allies."
The opportunity will also be established to contribute €20 million to the Three Seas investment fund, should the conditions for joining the fund suit Estonia.
Likewise to see increased attention will be the development of the foreign economy course, for which €3.1 million has been earmarked in the 2020 state budget.
Reinsalu noted that Estonia's businesses are becoming increasingly more global, and economic diplomacy has to develop to a whole new level. To support this, a comprehensive network of economic diplomats will be established that will significantly improve entrepreneurs' opportunities.
"Business diplomacy is an increasingly growing course, and we will find new opportunities to be even better partners to our entrepreneurs on primary export markets and on important new markets," he explained.
On Aug. 1, 2020, amendments to the Foreign Service Act are also to enter into force which will modernize the legal space regulating foreign service as well as reduce the foreign service's administrative burden. The budgetary impact of this change to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' budget is projected to total €1.65 million in 2020.
The 2020 budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' area of government is €78 million.
Estonia currently has 36 embassies, 2 consulates general and 1 consular office, as well as permanent representations at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg), the EU (Brussels), the UN (New York), the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, the OSCE (Vienna), the OECD (Paris) and NATO (Brussels).
A new embassy was opened in Abu Dhabi this year; a new consulate general is also slated to open in San Francisco in the next few months.
Editor: Aili Vahtla