Speeches

New Year’s Eve greetings from the President of the Republic on 31 December 2016

New Year’s Eve greetings from the President of the Republic on 31 December 2016

Good people of Estonia,


At least one thing has gone according to prediction this year – the 31st of December will still be the last day of the year and in the waning minutes of this day, the President has an opportunity to assess the past year and try to anticipate developments in the next one.

My wish is that in the global sense, the New Year will give more reason for optimism – frankly, that it will be more boring. The past year has nevertheless been quite kind to the people of our country. Geographically, we are at a slight remove from the world's great upheavals.

Only physically, though. And tonight, as well, we cannot fail to think of Syria. The sorrow is close enough for us to understand that peace and well-being are never self-evident. Peace has to be worked for every day just as one strives in the name of their own family.

The visible fruits of this labour – such as the discussion held across the continent about defending Europe or NATO's actions to guarantee collective defence – can sometimes make us feel that we lie directly in the path of danger. Yet aren't discussion and the decisions that stem from it better than silence and indecision? Threats and risks come from silence and indecision, not from action.

Indeed, this is how we must relate to our restless world – we must empathize and help those who are suffering.

We have to draw our own conclusions, clearly and openly, and act so that our peace and development will be safe.

That is in fact how Estonia has operated as a state. It is because of this that we have no reason to start the New Year worrying about our sense of security.

In these last few minutes of 2016, I would instead like to recall some of the good things that Estonia's people have done this year. There is much to mention. Sixty Estonians are currently doing their part to keep the peace in Lebanon, Mali, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan. A young girl invented an app that reminds parents of the right moment to wave encouragingly to their kid doing the same at the window of the kindergarten. Tens of thousands of times, grandmothers got help when their computers crashed. Millions of hugs were given to children and parents.

31.12.2016

 

News

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