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Commission Report 2002 (Estonia)


Chapter 27: Common foreign and security policy

Progress since the last Regular Report

Since the previous Regular Report, Estonia has continued to position its foreign and security policy in line with that of the European Union.

The regular political dialogue established by the Association Agreement with Estonia is proceeding smoothly and Estonia has played a constructive role within the framework of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including meetings at the level of Political Directors, European Correspondents and Working Groups.

Estonia has shown a keen interest in the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) as part of the CFSP, and has actively participated in exchanges on this subject with the EU in the EU + 15 format (i.e. non-EU European NATO members and candidates for accession to the EU).

As regards alignment with EU statements and declarations, Estonia has regularly aligned its positions with those of the Union and, when invited to do so, has associated itself with the Union`s common positions and joint actions. Since November 2001, Estonia has associated itself with an EU joint action concerning the EU's contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and spread of small arms and light weapons. It has also associated itself with eight EU common positions, including three on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Since the 2001 Regular Report, progress has been made with the adoption of the necessary legislative framework for effective participation in the CFSP. Estonia has continued to comply with international sanctions and restrictive measures imposed by the UN and the EU.

During the reporting period, Estonia played an active role in the Capabilities Commitment Conference in November 2001 and the EU +15 Defence Ministers` meeting in May 2002.

Relations with Russia have remained stable. A bilateral agreement on the opening of a shipping line on Lake Peipsi was concluded in March 2002.

From July 2002 until June 2003, Estonia holds the Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS).

As regards defence co-operation, Estonia has participated in a series of UN (Lebanon, Bosnia and Kosovo) and OSCE peacekeeping and observer operations. In this context, Estonia currently has 24 troops on peacekeeping duties in the Balkans. To further strengthen the convergence of Estonia`s foreign policy with the EU's CFSP, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has appointed interlocutors to the Policy and Security Committee in 2002. A Liaison Officer to the Military Committee has also been appointed.

Estonia is taking measures to implement the criteria of the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. The amended Weapons Act entered into force in March 2002. The Ministries of Internal Affairs and Defence adopted regulations on stockpile management, record-keeping and marking of weapons in 2002.

Estonia signed the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court in December 2001. It has passed new legislation against the financing of terrorism. It has aligned itself with the EU Plan of Action of September 2001, and with the relevant Common Positions on combating terrorism, and is in the process of acceding to the relevant international conventions relating to terrorism.

Overall assessment

Estonia continues to participate in regional co-operation schemes, such as the trilateral defence co-operation with Latvia and Lithuania, notably in the joint battalion (BALTBAT). The main provisions of these agreements concern co-operation in peacekeeping missions and common undertakings (exercises and missions).

In terms of regional political dialogue, Estonia continues to participate actively in regional co-operation fora, such as the CBSS.

As regards administrative capacity to implement the provisions relating to the CFSP, the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is well-staffed. It has an administrative set-up compatible with EU CFSP structures including the posts of Political Director and European Correspondent. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is connected to the Associated Correspondents` Network information system, through which the EU communicates with associated partners within the CFSP.


In its 1997 Opinion, the Commission concluded that Estonia was well placed to effectively fulfil its obligations in this field.

Since the Opinion, Estonia has made steady progress in aligning with the CFSP acquis; its alignment is in general satisfactory at this stage and administrative structures are in place.

The negotiations on this chapter have been provisionally closed. Estonia has not requested any transitional arrangements in this area. Estonia is generally meeting the commitments it made in the accession negotiations in this domain.

In order to complete preparations for membership, Estonia's efforts now need to focus on ensuring that its foreign policy orientation remains in line with the Union's developing foreign and security policy, adopting the legislation on economic sanctions and finalising the development of the necessary administrative structures. In particular, Estonia should ensure that its national policies and practice conform to the EU's common positions, should defend these positions in international fora, and should ensure that all sanctions and restrictive measures can be duly implemented.

© European Commission; last modified 2003-05-20
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