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Poland

(last updated: 1.03.2019)

Poland recognised Estonia's independence on 31 December 1920 and re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 26 August 1991. Diplomatic relations between Estonia and Poland were re-established in September 1991.

Estonia opened its embassy in Warsaw on 20 June 1995. Chargé d'Affaires Riho Laanemäe worked there initially; in 1996 Peeter Restsinski became the Estonian ambassador to Poland. From 2000 to 2005, the Estonian ambassador to Poland was Aivo Orav, from 2005 to 2009, the ambassador was Ants Frosch, from 2009 to 2013, Taavi Toom, from 2013 to 2014 Eerik Marmei and from 2014 to 2018, the ambassador was Harri Tiido. As of September 2018, the Ambassador of Estonia to Poland is Martin Roger.

Estonia has four honorary consulates in Poland. Estonia’s first honorary consulate in Poland was opened in Szczecin in 2002. The honorary consul there is Robert Kornecki and the jurisdiction of the consulate comprises  the administrative districts of Zachodniopomorskie, Pomorskie, and Lubuskie. The honorary consulate opened in Krakow in 2006 is led by lawyer Piotr Paluch, and its jurisdiction comprises the administrative districts of Malopolskie, Podkarpackie and Slaskie. In May 2012, Estonia opened its honorary consulate in Gdańsk. The honorary consul is the former mayor of Gdańsk and lawyer Tomasz Posadzki, and the consulate’s jurisdiction is the Pomorze administrative district. The honorary consulate in Białystok was opened in March 2016, Estonian honorary consul in (jurisdiction: administrative district of Podlaasia) is Doctor of Law Iwona Wrońska.

The Polish Embassy in Estonia was opened in Tallinn in August 1993. Initially the Polish ambassador to Estonia was Ambassador Jarosław Lindenberg, residing in Riga. Starting from November 1994, it was Jakub Wolasiewicz, who resided in Tallinn. Current ambassador Grzegorz Kozłowski presented his credentials to President Kersti Kaljulaid in February 2017.

 

Visits

To Poland
February 2019 President Kersti Kaljulaid met President Andrzej Duda on the margins of the meeting of B9 presidents in Košice
June 2018 President Kersti Kaljulaid at the meeting of B9 presidents and at the Poland 100 Celebrations
March 2018 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the meeting of Baltic and Polish Prime Ministers in Vilnius
February 2018 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser
October 2017 Minister of Defence Jüri Luik
September 2017 Prime Minister Jüri Ratas
September 2017 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser at the conference for Polish Ambassadors in Warsaw
July 2017 President Kersti Kaljulaid participated at the Three Seas Initiatives Summit in Warsaw
May 2017 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser 
April 2017 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser 
November 2016 President Kersti Kaljulaid
June 2016 Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas
Detsember 2015 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
April 2015 Minister of Foreign Affairs Keit Pentus-Rosimannus
September 2014 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a working visit in Gdańsk
July 2014 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the meeting of the heads of state of Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw
June 2014 Chairman of the Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson visiting the Sejm of Poland
June 2014 Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet
June 2014 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at a working lunch with US President Barack Obama and heads of state of Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw
March 2014 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit to Poland
October 2013 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the meeting of the Heads of State of the Arraiolos Group in Karków
November 2013 Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu at the meeting of the Defence Ministers of Poland and Baltic States
August 2013 Commander of the Defence Forces Major General Riho Terras
July 2013 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a working visit to Warsaw
February 2013 Minister of Defence Urmas Reinsalu
To Estonia
June 2018 President Andrzej Duda at the Estonia 100 celebration in Tartu, at the Baltic Students' Song and Dance Festival "Gaudeamus"
June 2018 Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki
June 2018 Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz
May 2018 Minister of Defence Mariusz Blaszczak
May 2017 Prime Minister Beata Szydło
June 2016 President Andrzej Duda
May 2016 Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski
August 2015 President Andrzej Duda
March 2015 Working visit of Rafał Trzaskowski Secretary of State for European Affairs
December 2014 President Bronisław Komorowski
November 2014 Working visit of Ryszard Kalisz, Minister of the Interior
October 2014 Working visit of Józef Oleksy Deputy Marshal of the Sejm
March 2013 Prime Minister Donald Tusk
January 2013 Parliament Speaker Ewa Kopacz

 

Bilateral relations

In November 2011, Poland joined the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence located in Tallinn. Poland's contribution to the policing of Baltic airspace is also noteworthy. Polish fighter planes have guarded the Baltic airspace as part of the rotating schedule since 2006.

Regular consultations take place between the foreign ministries of Estonia and Poland.

The heads of parliament and different parliamentary commissions have also held meetings. An Estonia-Poland parliamentary group has been established in the XII Riigikogu; the group has 9 members and is headed by Aadu Must.

In 2016, a Poland-Estonia parliamentary group was formed in Poland's Seim, it has 11 members and is headed by Maciej Masłowski.

 

Agreements

As of 1 May 2004 the economic relations between Estonia and Poland are regulated by the regulations of the EU's internal market and bilateral agreements in the areas that are under the jurisdiction of individual member states.

  • Agreement on Cultural and Scientific Co-operation (came into force 28.01.93);
  • Agreement on Friendly Co-operation and Neighbourliness of the Baltic Sea States (came into force 06.05.93);
  • Agreement on the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments (came into force 06.08.93);
  • Agreement on International Road Transport (came into force 30.10.93);
  • Agreement on Co-operation Between Region and Local Governments (came into force 24.01.94);
  • Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital (came into force 09.12.94);
  • Agreement Concerning Civil Air Transport (came into force 06.11.95);
  • Consular Agreement (came into force 12.01.97);
  • Agreement on Rendering Legal Aid and Legal Relations in Civil, Work and Criminal Matters (came into force 08.02.00);
  • Agreement on the Fight Against Organised Crime and Other Criminal Activities (came into force 07.02.04);
  • Agreement on Co-operation in Tourism (came into force 20.02.05);
  • Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Republic of Poland on the Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 09.06.05);
  • Intergovernmental Visa Representation Agreement (came into force 05.04.12).

 

Economic relations

TRADE

Poland is Estonia’s biggest and most important foreign trade partner among Central European countries, ranking 7th-8th among all of Estonia’s foreign trade partners for several years. For the last three years Polish-Estonian trade volume has amounted to 1.2-1.3 billion euros, trade balance has been negative.

In 2017, trade turnover between the two countries increased to 1.34 billion euros (yearly growth was +8.3%), which was 4.9% of total trade turnover. Poland ranked 8th among all Estonia’s trade partners.

In 2017, Poland was 12th largest export market for Estonia in total volume of 277 million euros (yearly growth of 7%). Poland ranked 6th among all Estonia's import partners in 2017, with a volume of 1.1 billion euros (growth of 8.6%).

Estonia-Poland trade 2012-2017 (million euros)

Year Export Import Turnover Balance
2012 176.5 882.0 1058.5 -705.5
2013 207.4 1084.5 1291.9 -877.1
2014 233.3 1045.5 1278.8 -812.2
2015 267.7 974.0 1241.7 -706.3
2016 257.8 980.1 1237.9 -722.4
2017 273.9 1068.2 1342.1 -794.3


Primary articles of export in 2017:

  • Machinery and mechanical appliances – 28%
  • Wood and articles of wood – 14%
  • Base metals and articles of base metal – 11%
  • Paper and articles thereof – 9%

Primary articles of import in 2017:

  • Vehicles, transport equipment – 17%
  • Machinery and mechanical appliances – 16%
  • Products of the chemical industries – 14%
  • Base metals and articles of base metal – 12%

All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia.

INVESTMENTS

As of 31 December 2017, Polish direct investments in Estonia totalled 81.5 million euros (0.4% of total foreign investments made to Estonia, yearly growth 21 million euros). Investments mostly went to the wholesale and retail trade (53%) the manufacturing industry (22%).

Estonia’s direct investment position in Poland was 129.5 million euros (2% of total foreign investments, yearly growth 10 million euros). The primary sectors for investments were the manufacturing industry (62%), wholesale and retail trade sector (19%) and finance and insurance activities (13%).

TOURISM

The number of Polish tourists visiting Estonia has increased year by year. While in 2014, 25.7 thousand Polish tourists were accommodated in Estonia, in 2017 there were already 29.5 thousand tourists accommodated in Estonian accommodation establishments.

Popular travel destinations among Polish tourists in addition to Tallinn are Tartu county, Pärnu county and Ida-Virumaa.

Visits to Poland by Estonian residents have also grown, from 212 000 in 2014 to 228 000 in 2017.

 

Cultural relations

Cultural relations between Estonia and Poland are close and diverse. A detailed overview of the Estonian cultural events that have taken place with the help of the Estonian Embassy can be found on the Embassy’s page for news and events: http://www.estemb.pl/est/esileht/uudised/. The cultural events of 2018 were naturally dedicated to Estonia’s centenary year. The most notable major events included Estonian cultural days in Poznań and Kalisz on 15-21 October, and the Estonian week in Gdańsk on 6-9 December. The programme of Estonian days is usually extensive and includes music, cinema, figurative art, and the promotion of tourism opportunities. In Gdańsk, the main focus was on the works of the R.A.A.A.M. theatre.

The Estonian Embassy in Warsaw is a member of a branch of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC). The EUNIC in Warsaw organises events for showcasing European culture. The Estonian Embassy is participating in the EUNIC-organised European Day of Languages and the poetry projects Poems in the City and Spoke’n’Word. More information about the activities of EUNIC Warsaw is available on their webpage: https://eunic.pl/

ESTONIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

Estonian as a second foreign language as well as Estonian literature and cultural history can be studied at the Hungarian Department of the University of Warsaw. René Virks is teaching Estonian at the University of Warsaw under Estonian Institute's programme The Academic Studies of Estonian Language and Culture Abroad 2018-2027. Estonian can also be learned with Aarne Puu at the Kraków Jagiellonian University. In Poznan, the lecturer Robert Bielecki at the Hungarian Department of the Adam Mickiewicz University has taught Estonian, and he also wrote the first Estonian textbook aimed at Poles, published by the university publishing house.  

The works of Anton Hansen Tammsaare, Jaan Kross, Arvo Valton, Mati Unt, and Ellen Niit have been translated into Polish (a list of translations is available at https://www.eesti.pl/estonska-literatura-polsku-15113.html). In 2018, two Estonian children's books were published in Anna Michalczuk’s translation. The same year, the sixth book in Polish, The World of Things of a Tallinn Resident in the Century of Enlightenment by historian and emeritus professor Raimo Pullat was published.

MUSIC

When it comes to Estonian music, Polish music-lovers mainly appreciate classical music and folk music, however, Estonian pop groups are also making increasingly frequent visits to Poland. The works of Arvo Pärt, Urmas Sisask, and Heino Eller have been performed in Poland, and Ewert and the Two Dragons, Trad.Attack!, Elephants From Neptune, Vaiko Eplik and the Eliit, the blues band Bullfrog Brown, folk musicians Anu Taul, Triinu Taul and Tarmo Noormaa, and Svjata Vatra have all performed in Poland. In 2018, the main Estonian musical events included the concert by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra on the works of Arvo Pärt, the concert by Hortus Musicus at the royal palace in Warsaw, the concert of the Collegium Musicale choir at the Varsovia Cantans festival, Mihkel Poll’s concert at the Szczecin Philharmonic, and concerts by groups such as Naised Köögis and Estonian Voices.

Estonian musicians also perform at festivals: in 2018, Pia Fraus attended the Halfway festival in Białystok and Maarja Nuut performed at the Sounds of the North festival in Gdańsk. Other notable events in 2018 in the field of music include the honouring of Arvo Pärt with the highest state honour of Poland in the field of culture – the Gloria Artis gold medal for services to culture, and the honorary doctorate awarded to him by the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music for his remarkable musical achievements and the universal depth of his works. Another lively event was the principal ceremony of the project Polish cymbal for Estonians – Estonian kannel for the Poles, where the exchange of national musical instruments was followed by a joyful folk music and dance celebration.

CINEMA

Estonian and Polish filmmakers have a long history together and nearly every major Polish film festival usually includes an Estonian film. In October 2018, the film Take It or Leave It was screened at the Warsaw Film Festival and in November, the film Little Comrade was screened at the Camerimage festival.
Estonia was the focus of the 58th Kraków Film Festival. The programme included six documentary films and a programme of animated films by the Estonian Academy of Arts. The opening film was Rodeo by Raimo Jõerand and Kius Aarma. A conference introducing Estonian production opportunities and film scene was also held during the festival.

VISUAL ARTS

The Estonian Children's Literature Centre has extensive experience in promoting Estonian art in Poland. The exhibition It's Always Tea-Time, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the initial publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll toured Poland in 2016-2017. In 2018, the exhibition Once Upon a Time…, inspired by the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm was showing in Poland. In 2019, several cities will show the exhibition Running with Wolves, which tells the myth of the werewolf.

Estonian photography is also popular in Poland. Several cities have exhibited images and portraits by Birgit Püve, and nature photography by Fred Jüssi.

ESTONIANS IN POLAND

According to the Polish Office for Foreigners, as of the end of 2018, there were 191 Estonian citizens a right of residency officially residing in Poland. There are also businessmen, students and people working at international organisations who live in Poland temporarily.

It has become a tradition for the Estonian community to come together for Estonia’s Independence Day and an annual end-of-summer garden party at the Estonian Embassy. Estonians are also meeting virtually in the Facebook group Eestlased Varssavis/Poolas.

The Polish-Estonian Friendship Association has been operating since 1993; it is composed of people interested in Estonia and it organises various cultural and economic events.
Since 2001, the Pro Estonia society, which brings together Polish youth, promotes Estonian culture in Poland.

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