France and Estonia


Political relations

Bilateral relations between France and Estonia are strong and there is regular political dialogue. A declaration on the strategic partnership between France and Estonia was signed by the President of the French Republic and the Estonian Prime Minister on 28 October 2020. In addition, a roadmap for the 2021-2025 period was signed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 9 June 2021. It sets out the areas for development in our relationship. France has been a member of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn since 2014, and two members of French personnel are seconded there. A bilateral technical arrangement was signed in the area of cyber defence in 2016. A French combined arms battlegroup was deployed in Estonia as part of NATO’s eFP from March to December 2017, from April to December 2019, and from March 2021 for one year. Following the invasion of Ukraine, France stepped up its engagement in Estonia from March 2022, within the NATO reassurance mechanisms present in Estonia (enhanced Forward Presence multinational battalion and patrol of the Baltic skies). Against this backdrop, in June 2022 the military exercise Thunder Lynx was carried out, with the dropping of 80 French paratroopers into Estonian territory. In the summer of 2018, an Estonian contingent (some 50 force members) was integrated within Operation Barkhane in Mali. In July 2020, Estonia was the first European country to commit alongside France as part of the European Takuba Task Force coalition (some 30 Special Forces troops).

French presence

French Embassy website:
French community: 340 French nationals registered
Estonian community in France: 686 Estonian nationals registered


In May 1992, President François Mitterrand was the first Western leader to visit Estonia following the re-establishment of diplomatic relations. President Jacques Chirac made an official visit in 2001. On 9 April 2018, President Emmanuel Macron received President Kaljulaid, for the celebration of Estonia’s centenary and the inauguration of the Symbolism in the Baltic States exhibition organized by the Musée d’Orsay. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was received by the President of the French Republic at the Élysée Palace on 24 November 2021.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe met with the Estonian President and Prime Minister on his visit to Tallinn in June 2017, in preparation for the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

On 26 January 2021, Minister Le Drian received his three Baltic State counterparts in Paris, for the first ministerial “France + 3 Baltic States” meeting, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the de jure recognition of Estonia. He received the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eva-Maria Liimets, on 9 June 2021 and travelled to Tallinn on 1 April 2022 for meetings with the President of the Republic of Estonia and his Estonian counterpart. As part of the preparatory visits for the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Minister of State Clément Beaune travelled to Tallinn on 3 and 4 September 2021.


French Ambassador in Tallinn: Mr Éric Malouroux (since September 2019) @LamourouxEric
Estonian Ambassador in Paris: Mr Lembit Uibo (November 2021)
President of the France-Estonia friendship group in the National Assembly: Mr Luc Lamirault
President of the France-Baltic States Friendship Group in the Senate: Mr Olivier Henno

Economic relations

Bilateral trade with France saw a significant rise between 2020 and 2021, due to the post-Covid economic recovery. Trade between Estonia and France reached €732 million in 2021, compared to €574 million in 2020, enabling France to remain 13th in terms of Estonia’s trade partners.

Estonian exports to France amounted to €359 million, an increase of 37% on 2020. Imports from France, meanwhile, rose by 19.5% in one year, reaching €373 million in 2021. Estonia recorded a trade deficit of €14 million with France in 2021, compared to a trade deficit of €50 million in 2020.

Estonia mainly exports wood and its by-products to France, which totalled €84.9 million in 2021. These products represented 23.7% of Estonian exports to France. Other key export areas to France are electronic equipment and machines, manufactured products and chemical and industrial products.

Estonia imports vehicles and transport equipment from France (€110 million; 29.5% of imports from France), electronic machines and equipment (€79 million; 21.2%), processed food, beverages and tobacco (€44.5 million; 11.9%) and chemical products (€38.6 million, 10.3%). With the exception of arms and ammunition, Estonian imports from France all rose between 2020 and 2021.
Some 40 French businesses are present in Estonia: Alstom and Saint-Gobain, in particular, but also JC Decaux (management of Tallinn’s street furniture), DPD (logistics and transport), Eolane (professional electronics), Lemoine (plant manufacturing make-up removal pads), AccorHotels and Antali (paper, packing and communication materials distributor).

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

Estonia joined the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) as an observer in 2010. French ranks 6th in foreign languages learned in Estonia, and has become the second-widest learned language in the Estonian civil service thanks to a programme which trains 400 civil servants per year (over 4,000 Estonian civil servants have signed up). Since the 2013-2014 school year, a French-language class has been opened at the European school in Tallinn.

Inter-university research partnerships have been established between the University of Tartu and the universities of Tours and Lille, between the Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) and the French National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Lyon, and between Tallinn University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies (IEP) in Dijon. A Hubert Curien partnership (G.F. Parrot programme) aims to support joint research projects (51 projects selected since 2002). There is also a focus on new technologies and conducting projects with European funding (Horizon 2020 and Erasmus).

In 2018, Estonia’s centenary was celebrated jointly with events in both Estonia and France. A Symbolism in the Baltic States exhibition was held at the Musée d’Orsay from 10 April to 15 July 2018. Institut Français in Estonia:

Other cooperation

Tallinn is twinned with Carcassonne (the partnership includes a professional aspect with training in hospitality and cultural cooperation). Competitiveness clusters in Grenoble and the Rhône-Alpes region are aiming to develop exchanges with Estonia from a digital technology perspective.

Updated: August 2022