Scottish Government bolsters cooperation with Estonia ahead of its EU presidency 


Junior minister Alasdair Allan met range of EU figures in Tallinn, Estonia last November

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT is working with Estonian authorities in renewables development ahead of its presidency of the European Council in July, CommonSpace has been told.

Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs Fiona Hyslop told CommonSpace that the government had “seconded support for them” in the field of renewable energy. Estonia will hold the presidency for a six month basis from July, which involves helping to define the interests of member states including in energy cooperation. 

Scotland’s renewables industry, which has growth dramatically across the wind, wave, and tidal sectors, has established various research and investment deals across the world totalling billions of pounds. 

The close cooperation follows meetings with a range of senior Estonian political figures in late 2016 as part of the ongoing charm offensive between Scotland and influential members of the European Union.

Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe, visited the Estonian capital last November to build “friendships and partnerships”, as reported by the government at the time

This included meeting EU Affairs Committee chair Kalle Palling from the governing Reform Party, Estonian Government EU Director Klen Jäärats, and Estonia-EU diplomat Matti Maasikas to “deepen and develop” relations with Estonia, and outline the pro-European mood in Scotland.

Read more – #ScotlandInEurope: The full story of a dramatic year for Scotland’s foreign policy.

Allan also gave a speech to Estonia’s Foreign Policy Institute and visited the Interconnect Product Assembly Factory, an electromechanical products firm set up by Scottish businessman John Ross. 

Iain Lawson, an Estonian Honorary Consul in Scotland, told CommonSpace about the joint business opportunities for the two countries: “I see Scotland as the ideal business location for Estonian companies wanting to export to the UK. Entry to the UK market via Scotland is a most cost effective route and with us having our own media and business organisations these are often a better fit for Estonian companies rather than trying to make an impact in say the London market which is hugely competitive and expensive.

“In my opinion, the best opportunities for trade in both directions is cooperative deals where a Scottish and Estonian company get together with a joint sales operation in the different markets using their existing resources. This allows both to sell innovative and different products in each other’s best markets at little additional cost opening up new opportunities in both directions. (Estonian and Scottish best markets rarely overlap at present).”

The Scottish Government supports a Nordic-Baltic Strategy, which encourages greater economic, cultural and social links between Scotland and the Baltic and Nordic nations. 

Picture courtesy of Ville Säävuori

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