“Estonia has good relations with both Finland and Hungary. It is irrelevant to ask which side Estonia should choose,” Rein Oidekivi, research fellow of ICDS commented in the Kuku radio programme Välismääraja staged and recorded on 10 August at the Estonian Opinion Festival 2019 and hosted by Erkki Bahovski, editor-in-chief of ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.
In the middle of the summer, the tensions arose between two of the largest Finno-Ugric states, Hungary and Finland. It also gained attention in the third language-related state – Estonia. How the tensions and disputes about the nature of the rule of law and common values in Europe affect Estonia was discussed in the Kuku radio foreign policy programme.
“Taking a look at the priorities of the Finnish EU Presidency – achieving them is in full accordance with Estonia’s interests and aspirations. Knowing Hungary and Hungarian, it is very difficult to imagine that the priorities of the Presidency are at odds with their interests,” Oidekivi, former ambassador of Estonia to Hungary noted.
Active position of Finland is linked to the fact that they took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July. As the presiding country, Finland will continue the Article 7 procedure with a formal hearing in the Council of the EU on the state of the rule of law and democracy in Hungary. Finns are stressing that this process was not set in motion by Finland against Hungary, but it is an initiative of the European Parliament. Finland is required to proceed as the Presidency.
“However, it is not only “bureaucratic steps” because of “obligation” of the EU Presidency. Finns are truly very concerned about the political developments in Hungary in recent years, and in Europe as whole,” Oidekivi said. “It also reflects in the Finnish EU Presidency Programme that focuses on four intertwined priorities: strengthen common values and the rule of law, make the EU more competitive and socially inclusive, strengthen the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action, protect the security of citizens comprehensively.”
Listen to the full programme in Estonian on 11 August on Kuku radio.