The 82nd Berlin International Green Week opens on January 19th, 2017. Estonia is one of the more than 60 countries represented at the fair with a wide range of food products.
Green Week is one of the world’s largest food fairs, held annually in Berlin, Germany. It is expected to draw more than 400,000 visitors in nine days. This year, Green Week Partner Country and focus of the fair’s promotional activities is Hungary. Estonia was Green Week Partner Country in 2014.
The Estonian stand is located in hall 8.2 along with other Nordic (including Baltic) countries and is managed by the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce. The focus of the Estonian stand has in recent years been mainly on organic food. At the fair, ECAG will be promoting a wide range of traditional as well as innovative Estonian food products from several Estonian producers: smoked cheese, sprat snacks, game meat, Estonian sharp mustard, rye bread, beer etc.
One of the main motivations for Estonia’s presence at Green Week is to increase awareness and market exposure of Estonian food products in Germany. Through the years, the fair has already attracted several loyal visitors and consumers who are interested in Estonian food. The expectation this year is to win new admirers and customers for Estonian food and food products.
Parallel to the trade fair, Green Week plays host to a global forum for agricultural policy makers. Ministers and high-level officials from all over the world are invited to discuss topics and issues on four panels related to water, e.g. water scarcity and water surplus. Tarmo Tamm, the Minister of Rural Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, will be participating in the discussion panel on issues related to water surplus.
On his first official visit abroad, Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna visited Finland, where he met with Finnish Minister of Defence Jussi Niinistö and visited the Headquarters of the Finnish Defence Forces.
At his meeting with Minister Niinistö, thoughts were exchanged on regional security, promoting bilateral and Nordic-Baltic defence cooperation and the European Union and NATO.
At the same time, the two ministers of defence signed the Estonia-Finland bilateral defence cooperation framework agreement, which highlights fields and sets goals for the further development of bilateral defence cooperation.
“Estonia and Finland share a geopolitical environment, which also requires close cooperation. At present we are already cooperating with Finland, taking part together in UNIFIL – the UN’s peacekeeping mission to Lebanon – and when conducting defence related procurements. The cooperation agreement confirms the wish by Finland and Estonia to take part in even closer and more regular defence related cooperation," said Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna.
The two countries are interested in further closer cooperation in the fields of defence policy, information exchange, capability development, defence related education, training exercises and crisis management.
The Government of the Republic approved the defence cooperation agreement with the United States, which will begin regulating the legal status of members of the U.S. armed forces, their family members and contractors in Estonia.
Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna stated that the conclusion of a bilateral agreement was necessary due to the long-term nature of the defence cooperation.
"The defence cooperation agreement between Estonia and the United States supports the presence of U.S. units in Estonia and strengthens our security. This is a tangible step towards deepening cooperation with our strategic partner, the United States. The United States has concluded similar agreements with several other European countries, including Germany, Holland, Spain and Poland. Estonia has also concluded bilateral agreements in order to ensure the rights of its servicemen and women and the state,” said the Minister of Defence.
The concluded agreement would regulate the status of U.S. armed forces, their dependants, and contractors stationed in Estonia, while also simplifying their activities here and increasing well-being by providing certain agreement based benefits. The agreement will not limit Estonia’s exclusive right to grant permission for the entry of members of the U.S. armed forces, military aircraft, and military vessels into Estonia.
The need for more precise regulation of the presence of Allies arose in connection with the increased presence of U.S. armed forces in Estonia, with the United States proposing in August 2016 that a defence cooperation agreement be concluded.
The Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) complements the already existing agreement on the status of armed forces between NATO member states (NATO SOFA), and replaces the agreement on the use of land plots and structures belonging to the Defence Forces of Estonia, which was concluded with the United States in 2015.
Estonia has previously concluded bilateral armed forces status agreements with, for example, Kuwait and Germany.
The Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States will be signed by the Minister of Defence in the near future, after which it will be submitted to the Riigikogu for ratification.