Speeches

President of the Republic at the opening of the autumn legislative session

Distinguished President Arnold Rüütel, President of the Riigikogu, honourable members of the Riigikogu, members of the government, esteemed Excellencies!

In the year of our national centenary, no one has spoken of Estonia more aptly than Rein Taagepera did in addressing you: "This government we have is too big, for compared to the population, it requires a greater share of civil servants than larger countries. Yet at the same time, our social fabric is too thin, because it is not able to cover all special needs. If we did not need to preserve a culture founded on our own unique language, no one would be so foolish as to go to the trouble of establishing so small a separate country. But we do have such a culture. And it is a culture that is astonishingly robust, to have made possible what seems impossible: a country that is both too thick and too thin and yet still functions."

How have we managed to accomplish this? The more I reflect on it, the more clearly I discern one thing in which we are more clever than other countries. Looking back on the constitutional assembly period and then moving closer to the present, we see the following:

- the tensions between different institutions that are hard-coded into the Constitution, which makes it difficult to govern the country, yet also provides stability – no one can get their way without their will being tempered by the other parties' bidding;

- an electoral system that brings sufficiently many different viewpoints and ideas to parliament so that all societal groups feel that they are represented in the Riigikogu;

- monetary reform legislation, which was rapid, risky and original but which, being balanced by strict budgetary requirements, gave us a secure currency up until the time we joined the euro;

- a tax system whose simple elegance could be understood by a society where citizens had not previously earned real income or actually paid taxes;

- the joint platform of the digital state and private sector – the X-road;

- Estonia's gene research legislation and the Genome Project;

- all of the necessary legislative acts for acceding to the European Union;

- consensus on increasing defence spending to 2% at a time when many deemed this NATO principle a pointless formality.

What does this list tell us? It says that Estonia's success story is not founded only on the brains of our people and companies but also, to a great extent, on the wisdom, courage and readiness of different Parliaments to do things differently from international practice, current fashion or outside recommendations.

10.09.2018

 

News

President Kaljulaid discusses economic cooperation with Chinese prime minister

President Kaljulaid discusses economic cooperation with Chinese prime minister

President Kersti Kaljulaid met with Prime Minister Li Keqiang of the People's Republic of China in Tianjin today to discuss cooperation between their two countries on economic matters.

"Estonian and Chinese companies are already working closely together, in the field of e-trading, the start-up sector, the food industry and for example in the construction of timber houses, where an Estonian firm has opened a factory in China, increasing its production capacity significantly," President Kaljulaid explained after the meeting.

21.09.2018

 

President Kaljulaid met in Beijing with the Head of State of China, Xi

President Kaljulaid met in Beijing with the Head of State of China, Xi

President Kersti Kaljulaid met today in Beijing with the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping. The main issues discussed at the meeting included co-operation between the two countries, trade relations and the development of e-commerce. Estonia's running for the position of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council was also discussed.

19.09.2018

 

President Kaljulaid to Poroshenko: Ukraine must demonstrate specific steps taken to implement reforms

President Kaljulaid to Poroshenko: Ukraine must demonstrate specific steps taken to implement reforms

President Kersti Kaljulaid, who is in Ukraine on a work visit, met today with her Ukrainian colleague, Petro Poroshenko. The situation in East Ukraine and reforms implemented by Ukraine, particularly in fighting corruption and improving the business environment, were the main issues discussed by the heads of state.

17.09.2018