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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Denmark’s support helped Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regain their rightful place in Europe


No. 278-E

At a commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the restoration of Baltic independence, hosted by Danish Crown Prince Frederik in Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen on August 28, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasized the importance of Danish support and the special nature of the friendship ties between Estonia and Denmark in the present day.

Paet said that the restoration of independence 20 years ago was founded on the active support of friendly countries. “Even though some friends and close partners took a sceptical or doubtful stance toward the re-independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania,” Paet said, “Denmark supported it fully.”

Relations between the Baltics and Denmark did not begin at re-independence, of course, but are rooted deep in history. Denmark refused to recognize the Soviet occupation and had recognized the independence of the three countries in the interwar era. History has left diverse traces in Estonian-Danish relations dating from centuries before. For instance, Danes derived their flag, the Dannebrog, from Estonia in the 13th century, Paet noted.

The political, cultural and economic relations between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the Nordic countries remain close today, Paet said. “Denmark is one of Estonia’s most important economic partners. Cooperation is also close in the European Union and NATO,” he added.

Paet was accompanied at the dinner hosted by Prince Frederik by professor Marju Lauristin and MEP Tunne Kelam, two individuals who played key roles in the restoration of independence.

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