Estonia and the Czech Republic
Relations between Estonia and the Czech Republic have been historically good and co-operation close.
Soon after Estonia’s independence, Czechoslovakia was covered by the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia in Berlin, and after that by the embassy in Warsaw. The first diplomat to permanently reside in Prague was charge d'affaires Philip Kaljot, who arrived in January 1934. The diplomatic relations that were disrupted between Estonia and Czechoslovakia in March 1939 following the occupation of Czechoslovakia were restored on 9 September 1991. On 1 January 1993, diplomatic relations were automatically transferred to the successor states of Czechoslovakia.
The Embassy of the restored Republic of Estonia started work in Prague in August 1997, headed by chargé d’affaires a.i. Riho Laanemäe. Estonia’s first ambassadors to the Czech Republic were Toivo Tasa and Mart Laanemäe – both residing in Vienna. The first Estonian ambassador to reside in Prague, Eve-Külli Kala, represented Estonia from 2002-2006, after which Mati Vaarmann was our ambassador to the Czech Republic until July 2010. On 17 September 2010, credentials were presented to President Václav Klaus by Estonia’s new ambassador Lembit Uibo.
Vladimír Bulinský has been the Estonian honorary consul in Brno since 4 June 2010 (consular area covering the regions of South Moravia and Zlin).
The Czechoslovakian consulate in Tallinn started work in 1921 and the embassy was established in 1928. A chargé d’affaires a.i. worked in Tallinn, while the ambassador to Czechoslovakia was accredited to Warsaw. The Czech Embassy in Tallinn was opened on 15 May 2000. The first permanently residing ambassador to represent the Czech Republic in Estonia was Vladislav Labudek, whose successor was ambassador Miloš Lexa. On 17 September 2012 ambassador Richard Kadlčák presented his credentials to president Toomas Hendrik Ilves. The Czech defence attaché Colonel Zdeněk Kubíček resides in Vilnius.
|To the Czech Republic|
|February 2012||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|November 2011||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|November 2011||Riigikogu Speaker Ene Ergma|
|May 2009||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves as the main speaker at the opening of the new headquarters of “Free Europe”|
|November 2009||Riigikogu Speaker Ene Ergma|
|September 2008||Riigikogu Speaker Ene Ergma|
|May 2008||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|March 2008||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|August 2007||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|June 2007||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves|
|June 2005||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|April 2013||Prime Minister Petr Nečas on an official visit|
|November 2010||Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg|
|April 2010||Foreign Minister Jan Kohout at the NATO foreign ministers` meeting|
|May 2009||Minister for European Affairs Stefan Füle|
|March 2009||Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra|
|November 2008||Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanova|
|May 2008||Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek|
|September 2007||Chairman of the Senate Premysl Sobotka|
|May 2006||President Vaclav Klaus|
The Czech Republic has been more active in parliamentary relations. Since 2006 Estonia has been visited by the environmental committee, the constitutional committee, a data protection delegation, and a delegation of members of the economic, agricultural and transportation committees of the Czech Senate. Other visitors have included the EU affairs committee of the house of representatives, a delegation of the budgetary committee, and Chairman of the Czech Senate P. Sobotka. In the Riigikogu, the Estonian-Czech parliamentary group has been established and is headed by Tõnis Kõiv. After the 2010 parliamentary elections a Czech-Baltic interparliamentary friendship group was established in the House of Representatives; its chairman is Radim Jirout.
In March 2010, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip met with Prime Minister Jan Fischer. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout along with a 10-member delegation participated in the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Tallinn in April 2010.
In November 2010 Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg came to Estonia, visiting both Tartu and Tallinn.
In addition to high-level visits, consultations between the foreign ministries are also held.
The Czech Republic is an important defence co-operation partner to Estonia. Czech aircraft have participated in the Baltic air policing mission; their most recent rotation was from September to December 2012.
- Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (came into force 24.05.95);
- C-operation Agreement Between Ministry of defence of the Republic of Estonia and Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic (came into force 25.01.1996);
- Agreement on International Road Transport of Passengers and Goods (came into force 31.05.00);
- Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Culture, Education and Science (came into force 19.11.03);
- Agreement on the Exchange and Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 01.08.2012).
As of 1 May 2004, economic relations between Estonia and the Czech Republic are regulated by the rules of the European Union internal market and by bilateral agreements in those areas that are under the jurisdiction of the member states.
In 2012 the Czech Republic was Estonia’s 20th foreign trade partner, remaining in the same position as the previous year. Turnover increased by 11.7%, totalling 239 million euros (0.9% of total trade turnover). Exports to the Czech Republic totalled 58.2 million euros in 2012 (the Czech Republic was Estonia’s 25th export partner) and imports totalled 180.7 million euros (Czech Republic in 18th place among import partners).
The main articles of export were machinery and equipment, plastic and rubber products, and textiles.
Imports from the Czech Republic, which has a strong tradition of industry, were primarily machinery and equipment and transport vehicles. Other imports were plastic and rubber products.
Estonia-Czech Republic trade 2006-2012 (million euros)
Source: Statistics Estonia
The volume of reciprocal direct investments remains modest. According to Bank of Estonia data, in 2012 the amount of Estonian direct investments in the Czech Republic totalled 1.75 million euros. Investments have been made in the following sectors: real estate activity, wholesale and retail trade, transportation and inventory, and financial and insurance activity.
The volume of Czech investments in Estonia in 2012 totalled 11.3 million EUR. Investments have been made in the following sectors: the manufacturing industry; wholesale and retail trade; transportation and inventory; professional, research and technical activity; information and communications; and real estate.
According to the commercial register, as of March 2013 there were 29 businesses with Czech participation functioning in Estonia.
Estonian tourists have always taken a great interest in the Czech Republic with the majority travelling to Prague, Karlovy Vary and Karlstein. The interest of the Czech tourists towards northern Estonia has grown considerably.
Every year the Czech Republic is visited by about 20 000 Estonian tourists and about 6 000 Czech tourists come to Estonia.
In 2010 a total of 4 550 Czech tourists were accommodated in Estonia, in 2011 the number was 5 669, and in the first eight months of 2012 the number had already reached 5 038. The most popular destinations are Tallinn, Pärnu County, and Tartu County.
Cultural relations between Estonia and the Czech Republic are diverse. Over the years people in the Czech republic have had the opportunity to experience Estonian music, literature, theatre, cinema, and visual arts. In introducing Estonian culture, an effort has been made to move beyond Prague and introduce Estonia’s culture across the whole Czech Republic.
The compositions of Arvo Pärt have been heard in the Czech Republic, as has Estonian folk music. Performers have included jazz musicians Jaak Lutsoja, Kristjan Randalu and Jaak Sooäär, Vaiko Eplik, Röövel Ööbik, and the conductors Paavo and Kristjan Järvi.
Major music events in the past year include performances by Ewert and The Two Dragons and Svjata Vatra at the Czech Republic’s biggest music festival “Colours of Ostrava”; Mari Kalkun’s performance at the Outsider Art festival in Čáslav; and the performance of the works of Erkki-Sven Tüür in Hradec Kralove and Brno. In November 2012 a special event took place in the Prague art centre MeetFactory – classical music was performed there for the first time, including works by Arvo Pärt and Veljo Tormis; an outstanding solo was presented by Mati Turi.
Interest in Estonian music is also demonstrated by the fact that in September 2010 a special edition of the Czech music magazine “His Voice” dedicated to Estonian music was published.
CINEMA AND THEATRE
Estonian cinema has achieved success in the Czech Republic. Estonian films have been shown at various film festivals: European Film days across the Czech Republic, Cinema Mundi in Brno, and the documentary film festival in Jihlava and Karlovy Vary. Films have also won awards at Czech festivals (for example “The Class” in Karlovy Vary and “Disco and Atomic War” in Jihlava).
Estonian animation has also been popular, primarily the works of Priit Pärn.
Estonian playwriting has reached the Czech theatre-going public thanks to director Lida Engelova, who has directed Jaan Tätte’s “Happy Everyday!” (“Palju õnne argipäevaks!”) as well as Jaan Tätte’s “Crossroads”. Engelova also modified “Crossroads” to be a radio drama, which was heard Czech public radio on the first day of the new year in 2011.
In June 2011 the world’s biggest festival dedicated entirely to set design, the Prague Quadrennial, was held. Estonia was represented by Reet Aus’s concept of re-using materials for theatre co
Exhibits of both traditional and contemporary Estonian art have been organised in the Czech Republic and have included paintings, photography, glass art, and installations. A vivid mark was left on the Czech public by the major exhibition of Estonian expressionist paintings displayed at the Egon Schiele Art Museum in Český Krumlov in 2005.
Czech audiences have also had the opportunity to see a comprehensive overview exhibit of the Pallas school of art.
In 2011 Estonia participated in Prague Architecture Week for the first time. Estonia was represented by the architectural firm Salto, which displayed a model of their Straw Theatre.
Many novels by the famous Czech author Milan Kundera have been translated into Estonian. Many Estonian are also familiar with Jaroslav Hašek's gallant soldier Svejk and the works of Božena Nemčová, Karel Čapek and Václav Havel, which have been translated into Estonian primarily by Leo Metsar and Küllike Tohver. The Czech Republic has recognised Leo Metsar for his contribution to Estonian-Czech cultural relations with the Czech Republic’s honour award “Gratias Agit”.
The valiant robber Rumčajs of Václav Čtvtek is certainly well known to a whole generation of Estonians.
For years Estonia literature was introduced to Czech audiences by Vladimir Mačura, who translated the works of Jaan Kross, Arvo Valton, Mati Unt, and many other Estonian authors. The death of Vladimir Mačura, who had received the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, in 1999 put a temporary stop to the publishing of new translations of Estonian literature in the Czech Republic.
The translation tradition is being carried on by Naděžda Slabihoudová, who has translated the works of Tammsaare, Kreutzwald and Gailit. In recent years Slabihoudová has mostly translated the works of Andrus Kivirähk.
A comprehensive overview of Estonian literature translated into the Czech language appeared at the end of 2010 in the special edition of the literary magazine “Plav” dedicated to Estonia.
More information on cultural events can be found in the News & Events section of the Estonian Embassy in Prague’s webpage: http://www.estemb.cz/events.
The Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports have concluded a co-operation agreement.
The Estonian language can be studied in the Czech Republic at Masaryk University in Brno, where Estonian students have frequently studied as exchange students. The Czech language is also taught at the University of Tartu.
The Czech Estophiles and the local Estonians are connected through the Czech-Estonian Club, which was established in 1991. The number of Estonians permanently residing in the Czech Republic is, according to different estimates, around 40 persons.