Estonia has pursued a foreign policy of close cooperation with its Western European
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and President George W. Bush, in Estonia 2006.
The two most important policy objectives in this regard have been accession into NATO and the European
Union, achieved in March and May 2004 respectively. Estonia's international realignment toward the West has
been accompanied by a general deterioration in relations with Russia, most recently demonstrated by the
controversy surrounding relocation of the Bronze Soldier WWII memorial in Tallinn.
An important element in Estonia's post-independence reorientation has been closer ties with the Nordic
countries, especially Finland and Sweden. Indeed, Estonians consider themselves a Nordic people rather than
based on their historical ties with Denmark and particularly Finland and Sweden. In December 1999
Estonian foreign minister (and since 2006, president of Estonia) Toomas Hendrik Ilves delivered a speech
entitled "Estonia as a Nordic Country" to the Swedish Institute for International Affairs.
In 2003, the foreign
ministry also hosted an exhibit called "Estonia: Nordic with a Twist".
And in 2005, Estonia joined the
European Union's Nordic Battle Group. It has also shown continued interest in joining the Nordic Council.
Whereas in 1992 Russia accounted for 92% of Estonia's international trade,
today there is extensive economic
interdependence between Estonia and its Nordic neighbors: three quarters of foreign investment in Estonia
originates in the Nordic countries (principally Finland and Sweden), to which Estonia sends 42% of its exports
(as compared to 6.5% going to Russia, 8.8% to Latvia, and 4.7% to Lithuania). On the other hand, the Estonian
political system, its flat rate of income tax, and its non-welfare-state model distinguish it from the other Nordic
states, and indeed from many other European countries.
Estonia is a party to 181 international organizations, including the BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU
(member since 1 May 2004), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, International
Maritime Organization, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, NATO, OPCW,
OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner),
WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO.
 International disputes
Estonian and Russian negotiators reached a technical border agreement in December 1996. The border treaty
was initialed in 1999. On 18 May 2005 Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and his Russian colleague Sergei
Lavrov signed in Moscow the “Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Estonia and the Government
of the Russian Federation on the Estonian-Russian border” and the “Treaty between the Government of the
Republic of Estonia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Delimitation of the Maritime Zones
in the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Narva”. The Riigikogu (Estonian Paliament) ratified the treaties on 20