“Estonia and Australia are good friends and partners who share the same values. I am extremely glad that Australia has decided to open its first so-called pop-up embassy namely in Tallinn,” Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser, who attended the opening, said. “This step puts our already constructive cooperation on a new level. Estonia’s innovative environment and development of e-government definitely had an impact on the Australian decision,” the minister said according to the ministry’s press service.
Also present was the Australian ambassador, Kerin Ann Burns Ayyalaraju, whereas Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop attended via Skype.
Mikser said that the opening of the pop-up embassy offers a novel experience to both sides. “We will observe the activity of the pop-up embassy in Tallinn with interest. I am confident that a novel approach like this will prove a success and increase the visibility of Australia in Estonia and in our region more broadly,” the Estonian minister said. He expressed hope that the step by Australia will serve as an example also to other countries when it comes to presence in Estonia.
The foreign minister of Australia said in her remarks that Australia also has decided to join the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE). “We welcome the decision of Australia to become involved in the work of the center of excellence,” Mikser said, adding that Estonia sees ICT cooperation more broadly as having good potential as well.
The two foreign ministers agreed on the opening the embassy at a meeting held in New York on March 7.
Australian media have reported that the ambassador will work in Tallinn for two months per year, while for the rest of the time Australia will have a “virtual presence” in Estonia.
The Estonian embassy in Canberra was opened in February 2015. Ambassador Andres Unga presented his credentials to former Governor-General Quentin Bryce on March 28, 2013. Unga is also accredited to New Zealand. He started work in Canberra on August 1, 2015. Estonia also has five honorary consuls in Australia.