HELSINKI – Former Estonian PM turns south

Speaking to the Estonian broadcasting company ERR interview on his 60th birthday Mart Laar, who is currently Bank of Estonia Chairman of the Supervisory Board and the country’s former Prime Minister, said the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated that Finland does not want a special relationship with Estonia. 

Have a look at Finland’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

While 50,000 Estonians live in Finland and many more commute to work from Tallinn, many Finnish companies have moved to Estonia because of more favourable taxation. On top of that, a railway tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn is under discussion.

Bu that special relationship is now showing strains.

For Mart Laar, who represents the centre-right Isamaa Party, Finland’s decision to ban passenger traffic was the tip of the iceberg. He now favours turning towards other Baltic states.

“My recommendation to turn and rather face our southern neighbours followed Finland’s decision. Finland had the opportunity to turn Estonia and Finland into a common economic area. The country’s decision not to do that is a good illustration of where the hope for a special relationship with Finland stands today. I would have nothing against such a special relationship, but it will not happen.

Latvia and Lithuania that have shared our fate have also been our closest partners through thick and thin,” said Laar. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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