Bilateral Relations

Estonia and Portugal have good relations. During the past few years the number of high-level visits and cultural links between Estonia and Portugal has increased. The year 2009 had historical significance because President Toomas Hendrik Ilves visited Portugal and Portuguese Foreign Minister Luís Amado made his first visit to Estonia. In September of 2014, President Ilves participated in the Arraiolos Group meeting in Braga. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet visited Portugal in June of 2014. Relations on the working level are quite close. In March of 2010, a memorandum of mutual understanding was signed by the foreign ministries of Estonia and Portugal, in which the two sides agreed to hold bilateral consultations once a year.

In May of 2014, an important milestone in bilateral security and defence policy cooperation was the three-day exercise in the field of cyber security held in Lisbon, jointly organised by Estonia, Portugal and the European Defence Agency (EDA). The idea of the exercise was to play through a cyber-crisis situation on the level of strategic decision-makers. The goal was to raise awareness regarding cyber security, cyber-crisis management capacity building, and introducing and deploying new approaches to leadership. The training’s theoretical part was followed by a practical exercise.

Estonia and Portugal have had effective cooperation, where diplomats have been able to use the premises of each other’s missions. From April 2013 to June 2014, an Estonian diplomat worked at the Portuguese Embassy in Brasilia, Portuguese diplomats worked at the Estonian Embassy in Vilnius during Lithuania’s Chairmanship of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2013, at the Estonian Embassy in Riga, Latvia, from December 2014 to June 2015, and at the Estonian Embassy in Astana from September 2014 to December 2015.

Portugal contributed to the air policing of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with planes from September 2014 until the end of that year and is participating in the rotation in the summer of 2016. Portugal also contributed in the Baltic air policing rotation in 2007.

In the XIII Riigikogu, the chairman of the Estonia-Portugal parliamentary group is Aivar Sõerd and the vice-chairman is Igor Gräzin.