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Germany

(last updated: 7.04.2020)
 
- Visits of importance
- Agreements
- Defence related Co-operation
- Economic Co-operation
- Culture and Education

 

Germany first recognised Estonia's independence de jure on 9 July 1921. Diplomatic relations between Estonia and Germany were restored on 28 August 1991. Thereafter, the respective embassies were re-opened in Bonn and Tallinn. In February 1999, Germany opened its new embassy building in Tallinn. Estonia’s historical embassy building in Berlin re-opened its doors in a formal ceremony attended by President Lennart Meri on 27 September 2001.

Estonian ambassadors to Germany:
Tiit Matsulevitš (1991–1996)
Margus Laidre (1996–2000)
Riina Kionka (2000–2004)
Clyde Kull (2004-2008)
Mart Laanemäe (2008-2012)
Kaja Tael (2012-2016)
Mart Laanemäe (2016-2019)
Alar Streimann (11.09.2019-...)
 

Estonian honorary consuls to Germany:
Estonian honorary consuls to Germany:
Ulf Lange, Hamburg
Horst Werner Maier-Hunke, Bonn
Helmut Aurenz, Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg
Klaus Hinrich Vater, Kiel
Jens O. Leisse, Schwerin
Til Assmann, Bremen
Astrid von der Malsburg, Frankfurt am Mainl

 

German ambassadors to Estonia:
Henning von Wistinghausen (1991-1995)
Bernd Mützelburg (1995-1999)
Gerhard Enver Schrömbgens (1999-2002)
Jürgen Dröge (2002-2005)
Julius Bobinger (2005-2009)
Martin Hanz (2009-2011)
Christian Matthias Schlaga (2011-2015)
Christoph Eichhorn (2015-2019)
Christiane Hohmann (19.09.2019 - )
 

Estonia’s and Germany’s membership in the European Union and NATO provides a framework for bilateral communication. Shared aspects of culture and history are also a uniting factor in our relations. The closeness and frequency of bilateral contacts has grown year by year and good co-operation has developed on the level of the countries’ governments, parliaments, and local governments..

Visits of importance

to Estonia
2020 Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier
2019 Minister of Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
2019 Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen
2017 Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier
2016 Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia Hannelore Kraft, Minister of European Affairs of the State of Hessen Lucia Puttrich
2015 Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
2015 Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen
2014 Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; Minister-President of the state of Schleswig-Holstein Torsten Albig
2013 Bavarian State Minister for Federal and European Union Affairs Emilia Müller; Minister-President of the state of Schleswig-Holstein Torsten Albig; Minister-President of the state of Saxony Stanislaw Tillich
2012 Minister of Economic Affairs and Technology Philipp Rösler; Minister of Finance of Baden-Württemberg Nils Schmid
2011 President of Bundestag Norbert Lammert
2010
 
Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Minister of Agriculture Ilse Aigner, President Christian Wulff
2009 Minister of Defence Franz Jospeph Jung
2008 Minister of Economy of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Ernst Pfister, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel
2007 Prime Minister of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein Peter Harry Carstensen, Vice President of Bundestag Susanne Kastner, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Michael Glos, Minister of Internal Affairs of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein Ralf Stegner, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
2006 Minister of State for Europe Günter Gloser, Minister of Justice, Employment and European Affairs of Schleswig-Holstein Uwe Döring, President of the Bundesrat- upper house of the German parliament and Prime Minister of the federal state Schleswig-Holstein Peter Harry Carstensen, President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert
2005 Prime Minister of the federal state of Thuringia Dieter Althaus together with Minister of Economic Affairs, Technology and Work Jürgen Reinholz, Federal President Horst Köhler; the Prime Minister and mayor of the state of Hamburg Ole Beust
2004 Prime Minister of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein Heide Simonis, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer, Minister of Finance Hans Eichel, Minister of Agriculture Renate Künast, Federal President Horst Köhler
2003 Prime Minister of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Harald Ringstorff, Prime Minister of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein Heide Simonis, the Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit
2002 Vice president of the Bundestag Antje Vollmer
2001 German Minister of Finance Hans Eichel, German Minister of Defence Rudolf Scharping, Business delegation of Saxony headed by Minister of Economic Affairs and Labour Dr Kajo Schommer, Prime Minister of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Harald Ringstorff
2000 Prime Minister of the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Harald Ringstorff , Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, President of the Bundesrat and Minister-President of Saxony Kurt Biedenkopf

 

to Germany
February 2020 President Kersti Kaljulaid, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu, Munich Security Conference
January 2020 President Kersti Kaljulaid, CSU conference, Bavaria
November 2019 Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, meeting with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
October 2019 President Kersti Kaljulaid, meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel
June 2019 President Kersti Kaljulaid, Berlin Industry Conference
February 2019 President Kersti Kaljulaid, Munich Security Conference
2018 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, Berlin
2018 President Kersti Kaljulaid, accepted the Peace of Westphalia Prize in Münster
2018 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas in Hamburg
2017 President Kersti Kaljulaid, Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, Minister of the Interior Andres Anvelt, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas
2016 President Kersti Kaljulaid, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Kaljurand, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jürgen Ligi
2015

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves as one of the main speakers of the Berlin economic conference “Go on instead of fearing the future: Reforms for Germany and Europe

2014 Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
2013 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves; Prime Minister Andrus Ansip; Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi; Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas
2012 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves; Prime Minister Andrus Ansip; Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts
2011 Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts, Minister of Defence Jaak Aaviksoo, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder
2010 Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip
2009
 
Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Minister of Culture Laine Jänes, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Social Minister Hanno Pevkur
2008 Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts, Minister of Agriculture Helir-Valdor Seeder, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
2007 Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Juhan Parts, Minister of Population Affairs Urve Palo, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
2006 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, President Arnold Rüütel, Minister of Culture Raivo Palmaru, Minister of Agriculture Ester Tuiksoo, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Edgar Savisaar, President of the Riigikogu Toomas Varek, Minister of Internal Affairs Kalle Laanet, Minister of Social Affairs Jaak Aab
2005 Minister of Culture Raivo Palmaru; Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, Defence Minister Jaak Jõerüüt, Minister of Agriculture Ester Tuiksoo
2004 Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland, Prime Minister Juhan Parts, Minister of Agriculture Tiit Tammsaar; Minister of Social Affairs Marko Pomerants; Minister of Culture Urmas Paet
2003 President Arnold Rüütel, Prime Minister Juhan Parts, Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland, Defence Minister Margus Hanson
2002 Chairman of the Riigikogu Toomas Savi, Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland, Defence Minister Sven Mikser
2001 President Lennart Meri, Prime Minister Mart Laar, Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Defence Minister Jüri Luik
2000 Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves , President Lennart Meri

 

Agreements

Estonia and Germany’s ties are based upon a multi-faceted agreement base. Since 1 May 2004, economic ties between the two nations have been governed by the EU’s internal market rules, and areas under the jurisdiction of individual member states are governed by bilateral agreements.

  • Joint Statement on the Basis of the Relationship (came into force 29 Apr 1993);
  • Agreement on Assigning German Teachers to Estonian Schools (came into force 21 Mar 1994);
  • General agreement on defence-related co-operation and agreement on the securing the conditions of mutual working visits (came into force 21 Sep1994);
  • Agreement on German Wartime Graveyards in the Republic of Estonia (came into force 26 Oct 1996);
  • Agreement on Commercial Seafaring (came into force 6 Jun 1996);
  • Framework Agreement on Counselling and Co-operation (came into force 28 Feb 1997);
  • Agreement on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments (came into force 12 Jan 1997).
  • Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (came into force 30 Dec 1998);
  • Agreement on the Readmission of Persons and the Implementation Protocol of the Agreement (came into force 1. Mar 1999);
  • Agreement on the Mutual Abolishment of the Visa Requirements (came into force 1 Mar 1999);
  • Agreement on Reciprocal Protection of Classified Information (came into force 8 Feb 2001);
  • Agreement on Cultural Co-operation (came into force 15 Aug 2002);
  • Aviation agreement (came into force 27 Mar 2002);
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on co-operation among schools (came into force 4 August 2010).

Defence-related cooperation

The legal basis for defence-related co-operation was established on 21 September 1994 with the conclusion of a memorandum of mutual understanding, in which the primary areas for co-operation were training, procurements, and logistics.

In recent years, Estonia and Germany’s defence-related cooperation has been active and broad-based, focusing mainly on practical co-operation. Germany has supported the air policing over the Baltic states and participated in the work of the Baltic Defence College and the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.

Germany has made a significant contribution to the training of Estonian soldiers and participated in many procurements for equipment and technology to be used by the Defence Forces.

Since autumn 2014, Lieutenant colonel Mark Trubok has worked as the Estonian defence attaché in Germany. Germany’s defence attaché to Estonia is Captain Lieutenant Harald N. Krempchen, who resides in Helsinki.

 

Economic cooperation

Estonia and Germany’s economic relations are primarily regulated by the rights and responsibilities of both nations as EU members, of which the most important are the principles of a common market (the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the borders of the common market). In addition to the previously mentioned agreements, the following bilateral economic agreements also exist between Estonia and Germany:

  • Agreement on Finance Related Co-operation (came into force 10 Feb 1995);
  • Agreement on Hiring Employees for the Widening of their Professional and Linguistic Skills (came into force 21 Aug 1995); The Agreement provides advanced professional and linguistic training for Estonian employees for up to 1 year (in special cases can be extended by 0.5 year) in the partner country on equal conditions with the employees of the host country;
  • Framework Agreement on Counselling and Co-operation (provisionally applied on 28 Feb 1997);
  • Agreement between the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia and the Work and Social Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany to allow fitters of Estonian companies to erect log cabins in the Federal Republic of Germany and fitters of German companies to perform installations in the Republic of Estonia (came into force 13 Sep 02).

Trade

Bilateral economic relations between Germany and Estonia are constantly evolving. There is potential for more German direct investment as well as for growth in trade.

Germany ranks as Estonia's fourth trading partner (2019). The total trade turnover in 2019 was 2.6 billion euros (an 8.3% share) of which exports to Germany were 904 million (ranking 5th) and imports from Germany 1.69 billion euros (ranking 3rd).

In 2019, the main article group in exports to Germany was machinery and equipment (30%). In addition, other exports included wood and wooden products (12%), other manufactured goods.

The main articles of import were machinery and equipment (29%), and transportation vehicles (19.6%).

Estonian - German trade 2014-2019 (million EUR)

Year Export % Import % Turnover %
2014 582.1 4.8% 1582.4 11.5% 2164.5 8.4%
2015 606.0 5.2% 1429.1 10.9% 2035.1 8.2%
2016 696.4 5.9% 1495.6 11.1% 2192.0 8.6%
2017 932.7 7.3% 1584.4 10.8% 2517.1 9.1%
2018 903.2 6.3% 1690.9 10.4% 2594.1 8.5%
2019 904 6.3% 1690 10.2% 2597 8.3%

Source: Statistical Office of Estonia

German investments in Estonian businesses

German interest in investing in Estonia has grown remarkably after Estonia’s accession to the European Union. As of 31.12.2019, German direct investments in Estonia totalled 582 million EUR.

As of 31.12.2019, Estonian investments made in Germany totalled 42 million EUR.

The positive development of economic relations are supported by economic representations in both Estonia and Germany. Enterprise Estonia has a representation in Hamburg and a representative in Nuremberg, whose task it is to intermediate contacts between Estonian entrepreneurs, German entrepreneurs, and economic organisations. The Baltic-German Chamber of Commerce belongs to the world-wide network of German Chambers of Commerce and advises German and Estonian companies in operating in Estonia and in Germany. Every year, the Chamber of Commerce brings several German companies to visits in Estonia. The Chamber of Commerce also represents the most important German fairs (Hannover, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart) in Estonia.

Tourism

Over the years, Germany has become one of Estonia’s main partners for tourism. Estonia is an appealing destination for Germans for both short and long trips. In the summer of 2019 German tourists ranked second of all tourists in Estonia and third overall for the whole year with slightly more than half a million visits that made up 8.3% of all tourists in Estonia. Compared to other Western European tourists, German visitors prefer to travel around the country and go on history, nature and culture tours. In addition to Tallinn, popular destinations among German tourists are Tartu county, West Viru county, Pärnu county and Saare county. Another popular way of travelling is on cruise ships that visit the capitals around the Baltic Sea, including Tallinn.

Co-operation in culture, education and research

EDUCATION

Cooperation with Germany usually takes places via direct contact between educational and scientific organisations and is based on bilateral agreements. Germany is one of the most popular destinations for exchange students and teachers participating in the mobility program.
Close and wide-reaching co-operation ties have developed between Estonian and German institutions of higher education over the years. Since 1992, the German Academic Mediation Service (DAAD)has, in the framework of the Central and Eastern European Special Programme, developed co-operation between Estonian and German universities . The German Government also supports the Euro Faculty of the University of Tartu, which was founded at the initiative of Council of the Blatic Sea States in order to develop the instruction of social sciences in the Baltic countries. The contact bureau of the Distance University of Hagen that was established at Tallinn University offers classes at the only German university at which academic studies are conducted in the form of long-distance learning.
The annual German-Estonian academic weeks in Tartu, called Academica, have become a tradition. Its patrons have been the presidents of Germany and Estonia and Academica is financially supported by German enterprises and the German Embassy. The goal of Academica is to offer Estonian and German scholars a forum to meet, find and develop contacts in their field, and also to resolve the more general challenges that research and universities face. Within the framework of the 16th Academica, held at Tartu University in November 2012, a symposium was held during which questions of ethics, science, and intellectual property in relation to the implementation of new technologies was discussed.

The education agreement signed by the two governments in 2002 helps to regulate and support the unique programme offered by Germany on the national level for those Estonian high schools where German is taught in-depth. The graduates of those schools receive both German and Estonian high school diplomas, which means that in the course of the same examination they pass the German graduation exam and the Estonian state exam. Thereafter they have rights and opportunities equal to those of graduates in Germany, as the language diploma received certifies their German language proficiency at a level sufficient for studying at German universities. The amount of German taught as a foreign language in general education schools has declined somewhat over the years, but it remains in third place after English and Russian. German is one of the subjects in which Estonian high school graduates can take a state exam.
It is possible to study Estonian language and culture at the universities of Munich, Hamburg and Göttingen. Since the fall of 2005, an Estonian language instructor sent by the Estonian state has worked in Göttingen.

CULTURE

The basis for Estonian-German cultural co-operation was established in 1993, when a cultural co-operation agreement was signed by the two governments. During recent years, co-operation has primarily taken place through free and unmediated cultural exchange and direct contacts. Since culture and education in Germany fall under the jurisdiction of the federal states, the greater part of co-operative efforts in those fields is enacted at the level of the federal states; cities and regions with friendship ties to Estonia.

The German Cultural Institutes active in Tallinn and Tartu are the primary promoters of German culture, and in 1998 the Goethe Institute was opened at the German Institute in Tallinn.

Since 2003 a cultural attaché has been working at the Estonian Embassy in Berlin to help create contacts and promote reciprocal cultural exchange.

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