PRESS RELEASE, November 18, 2016
The Estonian American National Council (EANC) offers congratulations to Donald J. Trump and Michael R. Pence on their election to the nation’s highest offices. We look forward to working with them and their administration to ensure sound policy development on issues concerning U.S.-Estonian relations.
Together with our partners in the Joint Baltic American National Committee and the Central and East European Coalition, we will continue to foster strong ties in Congress in support of our collective regional interests. We intend to invite newly elected members to join the Senate Baltic Freedom Caucus and the House Baltic Caucus, and to keep Congress informed on the issues that impact the Baltic States. At the same time, we invite our Estonian-American constituency to also contact their Senators and Representatives to voice their concerns for Estonian security and policy for the region.
Strong U.S. leadership in NATO remains the foundation of European – and therefore Estonian – security and stability. We are ardent supporters of the $3.4 billion European Reassurance Initiative allocation in the current National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and call on Congress to pass it without delay. This bilateral funding allows European allies to maximize their interoperability with NATO to ensure all members are well-prepared for deterrence and allied operations. Though Estonia has exceeded the 2% of GDP benchmark for defense spending and is making smart decisions under their Article 3 responsibilities to develop their own forces, it relies on cooperation and support from larger members to bolster its ability to defend its borders and maintain the integrity of the alliance as a whole. The multinational presence deploying there next year is a welcome implementation of the outcomes of the Wales and Warsaw summits.
While there is still much uncertainty regarding Mr. Trump’s national security policy and the team that will implement it, the EANC will make it a top priority to educate on and advocate for the importance of maintaining strong transatlantic relationships. Estonia’s small size in no way diminishes its status as a sovereign nation.
Under Article 2, all NATO member nations signed on to “…contribute toward the further development of peaceful and friendly international relations by strengthening their free institutions, by bringing about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, and by promoting conditions of stability and well-being.” We call on Mr. Trump to uphold and promote these values and to appoint a policy team that will do the same.
Washington, DC Director
Estonian American National Council