Analyst: Lithuania takes the lead in Baltic foreign policy | New
“The emergence of Lithuanian foreign policy has not gone unnoticed in Estonia. Both the previous government of Jüri Ratas (Center) and the current coalition led by Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) have been criticized for their slowness in the face of events in Belarus and their indecisiveness in relations with China ”, writes Kuusik in a item published on the institute’s website.
It took Estonia several days to make a decision after a number of countries had already banned Belarusian planes from their airspace. This kind of slow reaction to such events is unusual for Estonia, says Kuusik. At the same time, Lithuania has emerged as one of Belarus’ main voices after Vilnius rushed to support its pro-democracy opposition after the August presidential elections and opened its borders to opposition figures. . Lithuania has also publicly abandoned the 17 + 1 cooperation format between China and the states of Central and Eastern Europe.
Kuusik writes that when speaking to Lithuanians or Latvians, they often have the impression that they see Estonia as a competitor. Estonia does not see the other two Baltic countries as its competitors and instead tries to compare it to the Nordic countries. However, that could change in the wake of Lithuania’s rise to power.
“Is this a bad thing? Kuusik asks. “No. It’s good if each Baltic state can develop its own strength. Lithuania shares a border with Belarus, and it is natural that it is more concerned with the affairs of its neighbor,” notes the analyst.
Latvia is trying to promote closer ties with Central Asia and develop the corresponding skills.
Estonia is known for its cyberspace and IT achievements, although the catching up of the world begs the question of how long can we stay ahead. Estonia is also seen as the point of contact for the region. Kuusik writes that a survey carried out in the EU a few summers ago showed that many Europeans admitted that they saw Estonia as the leader of the Baltic States. Because Estonia has close ties with Latvia and Lithuania and also understands the Nordic mentality, Tallinn is a good partner to enter the region, ”Kuusik concludes.
Yet Estonia should not view Lithuania’s rise as a loss. The three Baltic countries develop on the basis of an egocentric foreign policy. There are other issues in the world besides Russia and the security situation in our region. While the latter will remain our priority, opening our portfolio to other subjects can only strengthen our position in the eyes of allies and partners, ”notes Kuusik.
Tallinn should support Vilnius, this should even be our strategic objective, writes the researcher. Recent criticisms of the Estonian government’s foreign policy which has been deemed compliant are deserved because the foreign policy shows little strategic thinking and is more in the direction of recklessness, Kuusik remarks.
“Foreign policy today cannot be based on the expectation that everyone is friends with everyone, which is why we do not need to choose sides and protect our values and our On the contrary: the time has come to do it. The weakening of the world order based on international law, human rights and democracy cannot save it. Actions help. It seems that the Lithuania has achieved the same, ”concludes Kuusik.