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Poland

(last updated: 25.06.2018)

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, the ambassador was Taavi Toom and from 2013 to 2014 Eerik Marmei. As of September 2014, the Ambassador of Estonia to Poland is Harri Tiido.

Estonia has five 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. In 2005, the second Estonian honorary consulate was opened in Poznań, which is led by the rector of the Poznań School of Social Sciences Professor Michal Iwaszkiewicz. The jurisdiction of the honorary consulate is the Wielkopolskie administrative district. 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 fourth honorary consulate in Poland 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 fifth honorary consulate was opened in March 2016, Estonian honorary consul in Białystokis (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
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

Estonia and Poland’s cultural relations are close and diverse. A detailed overview of the Estonian cultural events that have taken place with the help of the embassy can be found on the Embassy in Warsaw’s page for news and events: http://www.estemb.pl/est/esileht/uudised/.

At the end of 2007 a branch of the European Institute of Culture EUNIC was established in Warsaw, of which the Estonian Embassy is a member. The EUNIC in Warsaw organises events that introduce European culture. The Estonian Embassy has participated in the EUNIC event European Language Days and the joint EUNIC event in Warsaw “Poems on the Underground” and in the project “Awakening of the Summer”. For more information about the activities of EUNIC Warsaw, visit their webpage: http://www.warszawa.eunic-online.eu

ESTONIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

The works of A.H. Tammsaare, J. Kross, A. Valton, M. Unt, and E. Niit have been translated into Polish. As of the year 2000, very little Estonian literature has been published in Polish. The last work was in 2008 when Mart Laar’s book on the Forest Brothers called “War in the Woods” was published. Translations of the works of poet Aarne Puu and other Estonian poetry have been published.

It is possible to study the Estonian language and culture as a second foreign language within the Hungarian studies department at the University of Warsaw.

Co-operation between the University of Warsaw and the Estonian Institute began in the fall of 2007. As of  the fall of 2011 Estonian is being taught at the University of Warsaw by Svetlana Kass. In addition to the Estonian language, literature and culture classes organised by the Hungarian studies department at the University of Warsaw, it is also possible to study Estonian in Krakow at Jagiellonian University (http://www.uj.edu.pl/index.en.html) under Aarne Puu. Instructor Robert Bieleck in the Hungarian studies department of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan has also taught Estonian, though not continuously due to a lack of interest. The university press also published the first Estonian language learning book meant for Polish speakers, which was written by Robert Bieleck.

For those studying Estonian, a traditional Mother Tongue Day supported by the embassy takes place every year. However, there are only a few interested in learning the language. University students are more interested in classes about Estonian culture and society.

In March 2014 in Gdansk were held the third international literary festival "The European Poet of Freedom". From Estonia participated writer and poet Jaan Kaplinski, whose book "Teiselpool järve" (2008) was nominated for the grand prize of the festival. Poetry collection was translated into Polish by Estonian poet living in Krakow – Aarne Puu.

VISUAL ARTS

Estonian art exhibits are constantly being held in Poland.

Exhibits from the collection of KUMU have toured Poland in Warsaw and Szcsecin, as has the photo exhibit on the history of the Republic of Estonia compiled by the Estonian Institute in honour of the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.

The exhibition dedicated to Estonia and Poland’s shared history entitled “Three Lions and a White Eagle” at the Warsaw Art Museum examined Estonia-Poland relations from 1919-1939. In addition, the Polish public has had the opportunity to become acquainted with the works of artists Jaan Toomik, Leonhard Lapin, Ly Lestberg, Mark Raidpere, Sirje Runge, and others.

The major exhibitions to bring out in 2014 was the book illustrators exhibition "Meremuinasjutud" tour in Poland. In the Z.J. Rumla Library of Warsaw, the exhibition of Estonian photographers A. Haas, B. Pilv, G. Järvet and I. Muusikus "Pildistatud Eesti" was opened in March and in May the same exhibition was opened in city museum of Sieradz. From September to November in Warsaw club Zacheta was opened the exhibition of Flo Kasearu "Me oleme teel".

MUSIC

Polish music-lovers appreciate Estonian music, particularly folk music and classical music.

Estonian musicians have performed at various festivals and given concerts in Warsaw, Poznan and Szczecin. The works of Arvo Pärt,  Urmas Sisask, and Heino Eller have been presented in Poland and performers such as Vaiko Eplik and the Eliit ensemble, blues band Bullfrog Brown, folk musicians Anu Taul, Triinu Taul and Tarmo Noormaa, Svjata Vatra, Abdres Uibo, and Annely Peebo have all performed in Poland.

In June 2014 in Polish National Philharmonie was held the concert by Baltic Youth Philarmonic orchestra, condcucted by the founder and artistic director of the orchestra Kristjan Järvi. In June, in Halfway festival held in Biaystok performed assemble Ewert and the Two Dragons.  In September, the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir held three popular concerts in Wroclaw Wracislawia cantas festival, where they performed a capella version of "Kanon pokojanen" by Arvo Pärt. In October 2014 Estonian Music Development Centre in co-operation with Polish partners SONORA music and Nostalgy Festival Poznanis the contact event of Estonian classical music. In November pianist Mihkel Poll and sporano Arete Teemets performed in Otwock festival, where they presented the works of Estonian Composers. In December, the assemble Trad Attack! performed in international Folk music festival in Lublin.

CINEMA

Estonian and Polish filmmakers have a long history together and nearly every major Polish film festival includes an Estonian film. Estonian films have won awards at many film festivals – for example Ilmar Raag’s “The Class”, Jaak Kilmi and Kiur Aarma’s “Disco and Atomic War” – and Estonia’s unique animation has also been recognised (a separate programme of Priit Pärn’s films entitled “Pärnography” was shown at the Warsaw FilmFest).

In 2009 the first Estonian film days took place in Poland, which began in Warsaw and spread from there. The following films were shown: “Taarka”, “Kinnunen”, “Shop of Dreams”, “Knife”, “Autumn Ball”, “Jan Uuspõld Goes to Tartu”, “Navigator Prix”, “Frank and Wendy”, and “The Class”.

Ilmar Raag’s film “The Class” is available on DVD in Poland; also available there are Veiko Õunpuu’s “Autumn Ball” and Kaspar Jancis’s “Frank and Wendy” with Polish subtitles.

In October 2014, director Martti Helde participated at the 30th International Warsaw Film Festival with his film "In the Crosswind". Named the 2014 Estonian movie of the year, it was awarded the ecumenical jury prize at the Warsaw Film Festival. In November, the Estonian-Russian-Finnish-Belarussian-Kazakh co-production "I Won’t Come Back" directed by Ilmar Raag screened at the Sputnik Festival held at the Kinoteka cinema.

ESTONIANS IN POLAND

According to the Polish Office for Foreigners, as of 1 January 2018, there are 146 Estonian citizens officially residing in Poland, who have valid European Union right of residency on Poland’s territory. There are more Estonian citizens living in Poland, but under different circumstances – businessmen or students that go back and forth between Poland and Estonia or those working at international organisations.

It has become a tradition for the Estonian community to gather together for Estonia’s Independence Day and an annual end-of-summer garden party.

The Polish-Estonian Friendship Association has been in operation since 1993; the chairman is Dr Jacek Zieliński. The Polish-Estonian Friendship Association is composed of people interested in Estonia and organises regular cultural and economic events. In March 2001, the Warsaw City Court registered the society Pro Estonia, which promotes Estonian culture in Poland (www.eesti.pl).

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