New Year’s greeting from the President of the Republic on Freedom Square

My dear Estonian nation,

On the 1st of July of this year, something very special happened right here on Freedom Square. A spontaneous dance celebration, which went from idea to reality in just a few hours. This event was an emphatic way to enter a new century in the history of Estonian statehood. This is exactly how we will start living in the second century of Estonian independence. At light speed. No time given for last-minute adjustments.

But this new pace of life has its charm. Everybody's ideas count. Everyone's actions are a part of our society. Our entire society is the sum of our collective acts. Everyone has an equal opportunity to accomplish something great.

As to whose idea is turned into action, that depends on their initiative. As to which achievement becomes a symbol or sign of the times, this is something that will become clear in hindsight. Symbols both good and bad can trigger something that changes the pattern of our society.

In 2017, the pattern-changers were people we didn't expect. Or they changed the patterns in ways we perhaps weren't able to fear.

In our new century of independence, everyone has more independence. Anyone's dream can end up determining the future course of life in Estonia. Anyone's misfortune, worry, even mistake can be the factor that makes you and me take action to make this a better society. Nowadays, we are ever less reliant on government institutions when it comes to bettering our society. Increasingly, what we need from these institutions is simply their support.

For example, it took the Tallinn City Office no time at all to realize the significance of the dance celebration on Freedom Square. As seamless society grows and becomes stronger, the state is increasingly a supporter, an enabler in the positive sense of the word.

That doesn't mean the state's role in our lives is shrinking, only that it is changing into something different. Security, healthcare, education, coping with great misfortunes in life – the state provides all of this according to its abilities, to the extent that we as taxpayers approve. If we want to go beyond that in coming to someone's rescue or preserving something – or just to improve our spirits – we can. We're allowed to. But, as the organizers of the dance celebration on Freedom Square emphasized implicitly with every step – it won't happen through divisiveness and opposition.

The spontaneous dance festival wasn't a protest against the decision to cancel the official dance performance, made in the interests of the well-being of smaller children and rhythmic gymnasts not dressed properly for the weather. It was the contribution of the young people of Estonia to ensuring that summer 2017 dance festival experience, too, would be better than the circumstances permitted.

It's something that happens more and more frequently: we come together for a moment, in response to someone's call or cry for help, and we do something really important.




Meeting between the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Denmark focused on security issues

Meeting between the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Denmark focused on security issues

President Kersti Kaljulaid met in Kadriorg today with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, to discuss co-operation between the two countries in the sphere of security.

"Denmark has always been a good partner and close ally of ours, and since last week Danish soldiers have been deployed in Tapa to establish our joint security. Co-operation in words is one thing, but real practice, shoulder to shoulder, represents so much more. The soldiers of Denmark and Estonia stand together for the values considered important by members of NATO," said the Head of State after the meeting.



President Kaljulaid: Japan and Estonia share a passion for a digital world

President Kaljulaid: Japan and Estonia share a passion for a digital world

"Despite our geographical distance, we are close in spirit. Estonia and Japan share similar democratic values and a passion for new technologies and digital solutions," said President Kersti Kaljulaid at a meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.



President Kaljulaid: Schengen has given border communities impetus for co-operation

Tõntso Agro 320-pealise lehmakarjaga piimatootmisettevõte.

"As neighbours, we did have close relations before; however, the abolishment of border control at the border control points in Estonia and Latvia following the establishment of a common Schengen visa space made communication between people even easier and smoother and gave impetus to border communities for greater co-operation and the joint development of their communities," said President Kersti Kaljulaid in Valga, at an event held to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Schengen.