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Celebrating 25 years from restoring the independence of the Republic of Estonia and Danish-Estonian diplomatic ties

24.08.2016  16:33
25 years has passed from the memorable events when on 20 August 1991 the Republic of Estonia was restored and the diplomatic relations between Denmark and Estonia re-established soon after on 24 August 1991.

On the 20th of August the Estonian Parliament Riigikogu, the August 20th Club, and Speakers of Parliaments from the Nordic and Baltic countries participated in the celebration of the Day of Restoration of Independence. Amongst others the Speaker of the Danish Parliament Pia Kjærsgaard made a speech in Riigikogu where she recalled a visit to Estonia shortly after the independence was restored. "I remember the happiness and proudness of the citizens we met. That same happiness and proudness I have met today". She also added that "It was with great courage that Estonia reclaimed its independence – and without the use of force". Read more.

On the 24th of August the celebration of the restored ties between Denmark and Estonia was highlighted by the Danish ambassador. In his article published in newspaper Postimees ambassador Søren Kelstrup wrote on the close diplomatic connection between Denmark and Estonia, and also celebrating the last 25 years of exchanging values and ideas. Read the translation of article below.

In relation to the 25th anniversary of the restoration of independence of the Republic of Estonia Postimees daily interviewed Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, who as the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs had a substantial role in supporting Estonia’s aspirations in 1990–1991.

25 years from renewed ties between Estonia and Denmark

Søren Kelstrup, Postimees 24.08.2016

We have a reason to highlight Danish-Estonian relations. Just as this weekend was an occasion to celebrate the Estonian independence, today marks the 25th anniversary for the restoration of diplomatic ties between our countries. Ties that reach back over centuries.

Even before the independence Denmark was cooperating with Estonia outside of traditional diplomatic channels. The Danish Cultural Institute in Estonia was established in 1990 in an attempt to extend political support through a cultural campaign. Our common cultural understanding and common values created a solid foundation for a strong people-to-people cooperation that remains vibrant to this day. The establishment of the fund of democracy outlined a platform for developing and sharing these common intentions, and for Denmark to support the democratic movements going on in Estonia in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Seeing Estonia regain her independence was a great joy for Danes, and Denmark was the second country to recognize Estonia’s independence.

In the 25 years that have passed our ties have grown stronger, and diversified. After the first years of Danish support to the transition of the Estonian society into a liberal democracy, Estonia quickly progressed, most notably to membership in EU and NATO in 2004. In my view, not only has Estonia benefitted from accession to the organizations – the organizations are also stronger, by having Estonia as a member with high integrity and solidarity towards its allies and partners.
So today the Danish-Estonian relationship increasingly has become that of likeminded allies and partners. Both of our countries are smaller states that have an interest in a rules-based international collaboration, and we should continue to work as bridge builders between small and big, North and South, East and West, based on the common values and interests that underpin our outstanding bilateral relationship.

In the security context our soldiers stood together in Afghanistan and will soon again in the training mission in Iraq, in order to support the fight against ISIL. Closer to home we collaborate continuously in military exercises in the Baltic Sea and on Estonian territory, just as Denmark was the first country to do Baltic Air Policing from Amari Air Base in 2014. And in the future I look forward to welcoming up to 200 Danish soldiers in the framework of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia.

Denmark and Estonia are also close EU and NB8 partners. Together we share and extend Nordic-Baltic values of freedom, democracy and transparency. In the EU Denmark and Estonia share a vision of an effective Union that benefits its citizens and spurs growth, working together on shared priorities such as digitalisation and the Inner Market. On behalf of my government and Her Majesty the Queen Margrethe II, I can assure you that we will work towards continuously developing our relationship.