The Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) recognised the Republic of Estonia on 29 December 1921 and re-recognised Estonia on 29 August 1991. 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.
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 reside permanently in Prague was charge d'affaires Philip Kaljot, who arrived in January 1934.
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 the ambassador to the Czech Republic until July 2010. From 2010 to 2014, the ambassador was Lembit Uibo, and from 2014 to 2018 Sten Schwede was the ambassador of Estonia. In August 2018, the Estonian ambassador in Prague Eva-Maria Liimets presented her credentials to president Miloš Zeman.
Vladimír Bulinský has been the Estonian honorary consul in Brno since 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. In January 2017, Gabriela Tománková presented her credentials to president Kersti Kaljulaid. Czech defence attaché Lt. Romana Pešatová resides in Vilnius.
In the current Riigikogu, there is an Estonia-Czech Republic parliamentary group led by Aivar Sõerd. It has 8 members.
|To the Czech Republic|
|December 2018||Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser met with Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček on the edges of OSCE Foreign Ministers' meeting in Milan|
|November 2018||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas on an official visit, opened the Czech-Estonian digital conference Digital Czech 2018+ with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš|
|May 2017||Prime Minister Jüri Ratas|
|October 2015||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in Prague to receive the Aspen Institute Award|
|June 2014||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the annual Aspen Institute Prague conference|
|February 2012||Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet|
|November 2011||Prime Minister Andrus Ansip|
|November 2011||President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|May 2009||President Toomas Hendrik Ilves as the main speaker at the opening of the new headquarters of “Free Europe”|
|November 2009||President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|September 2008||President of the Riigikogu 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||Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet|
|August 2016||Minister of Culture Daniel Herman|
|May 2016||Minister of Defence Martin Stropnický|
|March 2014||Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Petr Drulák at the NB8+V4 foreign ministers meeting in Narva|
|June 2013||Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Miroslava Němcová|
|April 2013||Prime Minister Petr Nečas on an official visit|
|November 2010||Minister of Foreign Affairs Karel Schwarzenberg|
|April 2010||Minister of Foreign Affairs 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||Minister of Defence 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. Estonia has been visited by delegations of different committees, and Chairman of the Czech Senate Přemysl Sobotka. In the Riigikogu, the Estonian-Czech parliamentary group has been established. It has 9 members. After the 2017 parliamentary elections the Estonian interparliamentary friendship group was established in the House of Representatives, it has 20 members and is headed by Mikuláš Peksa.
In addition to high-level visits, consultations between the foreign ministries are also held regularly.
The Czech Republic is an important defence co-operation partner to Estonia. Czech aircraft have participated in the Baltic air policing mission.
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.
- 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 25.01.96);
- 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 01.08.12).
The trade turnover between Estonia and the Czech Republic has grown in five years from 238 million euros (2014) to 340 million euros (2018).
In 2017, the Czech Republic was the 18th among Estonia's trade partners, trade turnover was 340 million euros, 1.1% of total trade turnover. Estonia's export to the Czech Republic grew 22% to 93 million euros in 2018. Import from the Czech Republic increased by 17% to 247 million euros in 2018.
Estonia-Czech Republic trade 2012-2018 (million euros)
Primary articles of export in 2018:
- Machinery and mechanical appliances - 28%
- Vehicles, transport equipment - 18%
- Wood and articles of wood – 9%
- Paper and articles thereof - 9%
Primary articles of import in 2018:
- Means of transport - 43%
- Machinery and mechanical appliances - 24%
- Articles of plastics and rubber - 6%
All economical data is from Statistical Office of Estonia.
According to Bank of Estonia data as of 31.12.2018, the amount of Czech investments in Estonia totalled 11 million euros. The investments have been mainly made in the wholesale and retail trade sector.
The volume of Estonian direct investments in the Czech Republic totalled 21 million euros (yearly increase 48%), the majority of the investments have been made in the real estate and financial and insurance activity.
The interest of the Czech tourists towards Estonia has grown. While in 2014, 6000 Czech tourists were accommodated in Estonia, in 2018, already 8300 were accommodated. The most popular travel destinations are Tallinn, Pärnu County, Tartu County, and Saaremaa.
Estonian tourists have always taken a great interest in the Czech Republic with the majority travelling to Prague, Karlovy Vary and Karlstein. For the last few years, the Czech Republic has been visited by about 30 000 Estonian tourists a year, in 2017 by about 35 000.
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. In June 2013 Estonian groups Tenfold Rabbit and Laika Virgin performed in Prague at the United Islands festival. In 2014 Paavo Järvi took part in a music festival called Prague Spring.
CINEMA AND THEATRE
Estonian cinema has achieved success in the Czech Republic. Estonian films have been shown at various film festivals: European Film Days, 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 2014 from December to November Anu Hint's photography exhibition was up in the Czech Ethnographical Museum and from May 2015 the same author's creation about Estonian patterns can be seen in Brno in Jiří Mahen's library.
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.
In 2013 Estonian writer Tiit Aleksejev took part in Prague International Book Fair and Literary Festival Book World to present his work "Pilgrimages" ("Palveränd").
More information on cultural events can be found in the News & Events section of the Estonian Embassy in Prague’s webpage.
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.
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