How would you describe the special relationship between Estonia and the UAE, how has this developed in 2021 and what you look forward to achieving during your tenure?
There have been trusting relations established between the Republic of Estonia and the United Arab Emirates. As the embassy opened in 2019, we set the goal that during the remaining year leading up to the Dubai Expo, we would create important direct working contacts at political level and also between business organisations and companies. The pandemic has caused alterations to our plans, but it can be said that we have used this time very efficiently and through virtual solutions, the cooperation has become even closer than predicted. One can only hope that during the Dubai Expo we can continue with the same momentum and that the meetings held through computer screens will be replaced by the traditional ones in majilises and B2B meeting rooms.
Some steps toward normality have already been taken. In May, we organised an Estonian digital mission to the UAE, where meetings and workshops took place at the level of officials and entrepreneurs in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. This has been followed by active follow-up activities, which will certainly continue during the Expo.
As an ambassador, I have set myself the goal of visiting each of the seven Emirates to seek opportunities for cooperation and networking between our businesses, academic and cultural circles. I am pleased to have visited almost all the Emirates and to have established the road map to develop further cooperation.
What key services have the Embassy of Estonia been providing to UAE nationals and the expat community in the last 18 months?
The pandemic has critically influenced the embassy's activities over the past 18 months. At the beginning of the crisis, we helped our citizens return home. Recently, however, the Estonian community in the UAE has grown and we are engaged in providing the necessary services to citizens. I am pleased to note that the Estonian e-residency programme is also gaining more and more popularity among UAE residents and there is an increased number of those who, as e-residents, have wanted to open their businesses in Estonia and thus in the European Union. We definitely want to promote educational and research cooperation between our countries, and expect UAE citizens to acquire education in Estonian universities.
What message to you have for the UAE Nationals and UAE residents?
I would like to congratulate the leadership of the UAE and all of its people on the country's forthcoming 50th anniversary. The UAE's achievements during this period have been significant, not only in developing the economy and building up a stabile multinational society, but also in creating global initiatives to insure peace and stability in the region and worldwide. The UAE's membership of the UN Security Council in 2022-2023 is an example of the UAE's ambition to play a greaterrole on an international scale. Estonia, which will endits membership in the Security Council in December, wishes the UAE partners all the success. We hope that initiatives by Estonia during its membership of the Security Council will be supported and continued by the UAE to stand against challenges we are faced with.
Estonia is paying great attention to the developments in the UAE and I am proud that the contacts between our peoples in recent years have brought us closer to each other, built trust and brought good friends. This has laid a good foundation for the development of relations between our two countries.
To learn more, visit, www.expo2020.ee