Foreign Minister Paet to Students and Teachers in USA: Estonia Will Soon be One of Europe’s Most Integrated Nations


No. 341 - E

When speaking to the university students and teachers of Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy in New York, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that as of 1 January 2011, Estonia will be one of the eleven most integrated nations in Europe. “As of the beginning of next year Estonia will use the euro; being a part of the Schengen area allows for easier travel, and membership in the EU, NATO, WTO and OECD all provide an extra guarantee that encourages foreign entrepreneurs to make investments,” stated Foreign Minister Paet.

The Columbia University students expressed interest in how Estonia got out of the economic crisis as well as Estonia’s tax system. Other topics addressed were Estonia’s economic relations, the European Union’s relations with the United States, Estonia’s IT experiences, immigration issues, and co-operation in the higher education sector.

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet also met with Estonians living in New York. “Standing for Estonia’s freedom and constantly explaining their origins and situation has strengthened the Estonian community, which helps to preserve Estonian culture,” said Paet. The greatest growth of the community took place in the middle of the 20th century after the tragic events of World War II.

It is estimated that there are over 25 000 people of Estonian descent living in the USA. The primary centres of Estonian community and culture are on the East Coast (New York, New Jersey), in the Mid-West in Chicago, around Lake Michigan, and on the West Coast. There are 22 active Estonian societies in the USA; these in addition to the choirs, church congregations, societies and Estonian Houses add up to over 100 organisations.

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