Speeches president http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches 2018-05-08T08:16:25Z Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management President Kersti Kaljulaid on the occasion of the official visit of the Royal Highnesses, Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit to the Republic of Estonia 25 April 2018 2018-04-25T17:06:53Z 2018-04-25T17:06:53Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14265-president-kersti-kaljulaid-on-the-occasion-of-the-official-visit-of-the-royal-highnesses-prince-haakon-and-crown-princess-mette-marit-to-the-republic-of-estonia-25-april-2018 Katrin Sirel Katrin.Sirel@vpk.ee <p>Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,</p> <p><em>Hjertelig velkommen til Tallinn.</em></p> <p>Your visit takes place in an important year as we are celebrating the centenary of Estonian independence. This would not be possible without our good friends and allies like Norway.</p> <p>Defending freedom is a core value for both Norwegians and Estonians – freedom of our nations, but also our individual freedoms.</p> <p>Both of our countries know what it means to lose your independence and to regain it. We also know that we need to protect the freedom of our friends with similar values. I am thinking about the Estonian volunteers that came to defend Norway in 1940. They sang both Norwegian and Estonian National anthems while swearing their oaths in Alta church. It was in Narvik, where the first Estonian lost his life in the Second World War. Only a few months later Estonia lost its independence.</p> <p>Norway never recognised the illegal annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. You allowed Estonian honorary consuls in Oslo and Trondheim to continue their work. You also did let us to declare the Estonian government in exile in 1953 in Oslo when such political activity was not allowed in many other countries. We are grateful for your support at these difficult times.</p> <p>In early nineties, me and my friends went to see these historic places for our military history. The wonderful Alta canion offered us much more than lessons of history. It offered beautiful nature, wonderful views and many mushrooms and berries, by the way. However, Alta was also a site of civic debate about the environment, preservation of the nature versus renewable energy production.</p> <p>Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,</p> <p><em>Hjertelig velkommen til Tallinn.</em></p> <p>Your visit takes place in an important year as we are celebrating the centenary of Estonian independence. This would not be possible without our good friends and allies like Norway.</p> <p>Defending freedom is a core value for both Norwegians and Estonians – freedom of our nations, but also our individual freedoms.</p> <p>Both of our countries know what it means to lose your independence and to regain it. We also know that we need to protect the freedom of our friends with similar values. I am thinking about the Estonian volunteers that came to defend Norway in 1940. They sang both Norwegian and Estonian National anthems while swearing their oaths in Alta church. It was in Narvik, where the first Estonian lost his life in the Second World War. Only a few months later Estonia lost its independence.</p> <p>Norway never recognised the illegal annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. You allowed Estonian honorary consuls in Oslo and Trondheim to continue their work. You also did let us to declare the Estonian government in exile in 1953 in Oslo when such political activity was not allowed in many other countries. We are grateful for your support at these difficult times.</p> <p>In early nineties, me and my friends went to see these historic places for our military history. The wonderful Alta canion offered us much more than lessons of history. It offered beautiful nature, wonderful views and many mushrooms and berries, by the way. However, Alta was also a site of civic debate about the environment, preservation of the nature versus renewable energy production.</p> Address of the President of the Republic at the charity dinner of the Carolin Illenzeer Fund at the Tallinn Creative Hub 2018-04-11T22:00:00Z 2018-04-11T22:00:00Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14233-address-of-the-president-of-the-republic-at-the-charity-dinner-of-the-carolin-illenzeer-fund-at-the-tallinn-creative-hub- Mailin Aasmäe mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee <p>Esteemed President of the Riigikogu, Commander of the Defence Forces, dear friends,</p> <p>Two weeks ago the former Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, General Aleksander Einseln, reached his final resting place. He was the first commander of the Defence Forces following the restoration of Estonia's independence, to the Americans he was Colonel Einseln. He taught us defence diplomacy; he taught us that on the modern battlefield just one country – no country in the world, for that matter – will be able to call all the shots. He also taught us that defence diplomacy can only succeed, when words are backed up by deeds. Estonia's words are backed up by deeds. That is why we have been successful and are able to carry on today, in the particularly tense atmosphere that prevails currently.</p> <p>Esteemed President of the Riigikogu, Commander of the Defence Forces, dear friends,</p> <p>Two weeks ago the former Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, General Aleksander Einseln, reached his final resting place. He was the first commander of the Defence Forces following the restoration of Estonia's independence, to the Americans he was Colonel Einseln. He taught us defence diplomacy; he taught us that on the modern battlefield just one country – no country in the world, for that matter – will be able to call all the shots. He also taught us that defence diplomacy can only succeed, when words are backed up by deeds. Estonia's words are backed up by deeds. That is why we have been successful and are able to carry on today, in the particularly tense atmosphere that prevails currently.</p> President of the Republic at the Tallinn Music Week Creative Impact Conference 2018 2018-04-06T10:25:37Z 2018-04-06T10:25:37Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14224-president-of-the-republic-at-the-tallinn-music-week-creative-impact-conference-2018 Kaidi Aher kaidi.aher@vpk.ee <p>It is wonderful to see so many friends of music, arts and ideas. First of all welcome, welcome to Tallinn!</p> <p>Back in time and thousands of miles away, in southwest of Tennessee, 50 years ago this week, this was where Martin Luther King Jr. held his last and one of the most powerful speeches.</p> <p>There was a huge thunderstorm outside when he took the stage that night in Memphis, amid the black garbage workers' strike over unjust working conditions. It was there when he said what is now quoted on his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, right up where you see it immediately. The one which reminds us that the choice for mankind was – and still is – not between violence and nonviolence, but between nonviolence and nonexistence.</p> <p>Next day he was assassinated on the balcony of a motel, his last words being the ones said to a musician whom he asked to play a gospel hymn in the meeting later that night: "Play it real pretty!"</p> <p>We all know Memphis as the birthplace of rock'n'roll and soul, both important not only as music styles, but as agents of change.</p> <p>For us, who we can eat our lunch wherever we want to, it may be difficult to imagine all the dehumanizing intimidation that people then faced. It is not so long ago at all. All these separate drinking fountains, entrances to the movie theatres, or zoos where black people were allowed to go only when they cleaned the cages.</p> <p>Just think what an effort – and therefore how much more impressive – it was to respond to all of this with... love. <p>It is wonderful to see so many friends of music, arts and ideas. First of all welcome, welcome to Tallinn!</p> <p>Back in time and thousands of miles away, in southwest of Tennessee, 50 years ago this week, this was where Martin Luther King Jr. held his last and one of the most powerful speeches.</p> <p>There was a huge thunderstorm outside when he took the stage that night in Memphis, amid the black garbage workers' strike over unjust working conditions. It was there when he said what is now quoted on his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, right up where you see it immediately. The one which reminds us that the choice for mankind was – and still is – not between violence and nonviolence, but between nonviolence and nonexistence.</p> <p>Next day he was assassinated on the balcony of a motel, his last words being the ones said to a musician whom he asked to play a gospel hymn in the meeting later that night: "Play it real pretty!"</p> <p>We all know Memphis as the birthplace of rock'n'roll and soul, both important not only as music styles, but as agents of change.</p> <p>For us, who we can eat our lunch wherever we want to, it may be difficult to imagine all the dehumanizing intimidation that people then faced. It is not so long ago at all. All these separate drinking fountains, entrances to the movie theatres, or zoos where black people were allowed to go only when they cleaned the cages.</p> <p>Just think what an effort – and therefore how much more impressive – it was to respond to all of this with... love. President Kersti Kaljulaid at Chatham House in London 2018-03-27T08:57:04Z 2018-03-27T08:57:04Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14261-president-kersti-kaljulaid-at-chatham-house-in-london Kaidi Aher kaidi.aher@vpk.ee <p>Thank you for these kind words about me, myself and Estonia.</p> <p>Indeed, digital is not the first big wave of legally permissive environment creation, which has brought investment to our country. I would think the first one was actually in the early 1990s when our cost levels were everyone's dream and you could easily attract money to your country by having a much easier tax system. We did it and later it was copied a lot. The next time, was indeed digital, but not only digital. At the turn of the century we created a permissive environment for population-level genome investigations, and now we are able (with the cost of hopefully not more than 25 euros per capita) to provide quite soon for 10% of our population information on how easy it is for them to get diabetes type 2 and other common genetically hereditary diseases. This demonstrates that if you do not have money but you want to provide your people with services, there is a way to do it, and this is to create a digitally permissive environment. Right now, we are indeed already thinking about how to regulate artificial intelligence.&nbsp; Even if we know that we are very far from creating artificial intelligence, probably further away than Elon Musk is thinking, we do have lots of automated systems and regulating for one will also cover the other, the liability issues, etc. So we are thinking of how to make sure that this wave of technology will not pass Estonia by. For example, our Traffic Code can regulate for a situation of a car and a robot having an accident, and we have already had such an accident with a package delivery robot and a car. The car driver was found guilty. It shows you that it is more general. It is not just that we happened on a digital gold mine, we do it systematically in Estonia.</p> <p>Seventeen years ago, we wanted to provide our people with digital services like Industry 4.0. We thought that if we would automatize processes and remove people from the chain of providing the services and delivering goods, then we could afford more, with our small workforce in the public sector and low tax burden of the GDP, which has never exceeded 35%. At the same time, we have a population that is looking toward Scandinavia for public services to be at a good level. Now all of our people count on online as a part of everyday life. Last year we had a hiccup because of a technology provider, some people had to go to a government office to restart their digital identities, and we almost had a riot. People had to wait for an hour at a government office, shock and horror. This is when we realized that societal disruption is complete. We have digitally disrupted the society. It is not any more "digital with if needed paper alternative", it is now "digital, which needs digital alternatives". Luckily, we had several ways of digital identification so we could continue with digital Estonia.</p> <p>Thank you for these kind words about me, myself and Estonia.</p> <p>Indeed, digital is not the first big wave of legally permissive environment creation, which has brought investment to our country. I would think the first one was actually in the early 1990s when our cost levels were everyone's dream and you could easily attract money to your country by having a much easier tax system. We did it and later it was copied a lot. The next time, was indeed digital, but not only digital. At the turn of the century we created a permissive environment for population-level genome investigations, and now we are able (with the cost of hopefully not more than 25 euros per capita) to provide quite soon for 10% of our population information on how easy it is for them to get diabetes type 2 and other common genetically hereditary diseases. This demonstrates that if you do not have money but you want to provide your people with services, there is a way to do it, and this is to create a digitally permissive environment. Right now, we are indeed already thinking about how to regulate artificial intelligence.&nbsp; Even if we know that we are very far from creating artificial intelligence, probably further away than Elon Musk is thinking, we do have lots of automated systems and regulating for one will also cover the other, the liability issues, etc. So we are thinking of how to make sure that this wave of technology will not pass Estonia by. For example, our Traffic Code can regulate for a situation of a car and a robot having an accident, and we have already had such an accident with a package delivery robot and a car. The car driver was found guilty. It shows you that it is more general. It is not just that we happened on a digital gold mine, we do it systematically in Estonia.</p> <p>Seventeen years ago, we wanted to provide our people with digital services like Industry 4.0. We thought that if we would automatize processes and remove people from the chain of providing the services and delivering goods, then we could afford more, with our small workforce in the public sector and low tax burden of the GDP, which has never exceeded 35%. At the same time, we have a population that is looking toward Scandinavia for public services to be at a good level. Now all of our people count on online as a part of everyday life. Last year we had a hiccup because of a technology provider, some people had to go to a government office to restart their digital identities, and we almost had a riot. People had to wait for an hour at a government office, shock and horror. This is when we realized that societal disruption is complete. We have digitally disrupted the society. It is not any more "digital with if needed paper alternative", it is now "digital, which needs digital alternatives". Luckily, we had several ways of digital identification so we could continue with digital Estonia.</p> President of the Republic at the 5th Annual Tallinn Conference on the Eastern Partnership 2018-03-02T13:45:24Z 2018-03-02T13:45:24Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14165-president-of-the-republic-at-the-5th-annual-tallinn-conference-on-the-eastern-partnership Liis Lepik Liis.Lepik@vpk.ee <p>Welcome to wintery Tallinn just a week after Estonia celebrated its 100th Independence Day. The celebrations here in Estonia will continue all year around but this does not mean that we wouldn't be working this year. Our EU Council Presidency turned a lot of attention to Eastern Partnership. I remember talking to your business community, your civil society and a very lively press conference with many interesting questions in Brussels on the eve of the Eastern Partnership Summit. It is now time to take this momentum forward and continue with these topics. Estonia will continue to support Eastern Partners and to make sure that the bus will not drive away and we will try to help all Eastern Partnership countries to achieve your objectives of state building and economic development. We know ourselves how difficult these kind of reforms can be. And I would also like to congratulate the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership on their fifth anniversary and thank them for organizing this conference.</p> <p>Summits are important political landmarks. They enable us to take stock of what has been achieved and also to set new benchmarks. And sometimes summits can still be counted successful even if they only manage to hold on to the status quo or if only smaller practical steps are being taken. I believe that the last Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels was of this category. We didn't slide back, we understood that the isn't great enthusiasm or very much understanding on where the Eastern Partnership is going. Yet we managed to get concrete results and concrete small steps. And we managed to have a declaration that satisfied all concerned parties.</p> <p>Now it is time to move forward. I noticed that as EU is talking about projecting its values beyond its borders, it is again also talking about new areas of cooperation with countries who are close to the EU, but not ready to join yet. As Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations has said, "We need to be ambitious, but also realistic and credible".</p> <p>Welcome to wintery Tallinn just a week after Estonia celebrated its 100th Independence Day. The celebrations here in Estonia will continue all year around but this does not mean that we wouldn't be working this year. Our EU Council Presidency turned a lot of attention to Eastern Partnership. I remember talking to your business community, your civil society and a very lively press conference with many interesting questions in Brussels on the eve of the Eastern Partnership Summit. It is now time to take this momentum forward and continue with these topics. Estonia will continue to support Eastern Partners and to make sure that the bus will not drive away and we will try to help all Eastern Partnership countries to achieve your objectives of state building and economic development. We know ourselves how difficult these kind of reforms can be. And I would also like to congratulate the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership on their fifth anniversary and thank them for organizing this conference.</p> <p>Summits are important political landmarks. They enable us to take stock of what has been achieved and also to set new benchmarks. And sometimes summits can still be counted successful even if they only manage to hold on to the status quo or if only smaller practical steps are being taken. I believe that the last Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels was of this category. We didn't slide back, we understood that the isn't great enthusiasm or very much understanding on where the Eastern Partnership is going. Yet we managed to get concrete results and concrete small steps. And we managed to have a declaration that satisfied all concerned parties.</p> <p>Now it is time to move forward. I noticed that as EU is talking about projecting its values beyond its borders, it is again also talking about new areas of cooperation with countries who are close to the EU, but not ready to join yet. As Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations has said, "We need to be ambitious, but also realistic and credible".</p> Opening speech in the honour of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia at the Latvian National Opera House 2018-02-26T22:00:00Z 2018-02-26T22:00:00Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14162-opening-speech-in-the-honour-of-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-republic-of-estonia-at-the-latvian-national-opera-house Mailin Aasmäe mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee <p>President Vejonis,</p> <p>Prime Ministers Kučinskis and Ratas</p> <p>Ladies and gentlemen,</p> <p>Dear neighbour(s) and friend(s),</p> <p>Latvian film director Daira Abolina has said that Latvians and Estonians are like half-brothers. Our sense of humour, temperament and languages are different. But at the same time, we share traditions, values and history.</p> <p>Last Saturday we celebrated the centenary of independent Estonia in Tartu, which is by the way, one of the most popular travel destination for Latvians visiting Estonia. Only 3 days later, we are celebrating our 100th Independence Day here in Riga. Thinking of Latvian folklore then this seems to be surprisingly fast for Estonians.</p> <p>President Vejonis,</p> <p>Prime Ministers Kučinskis and Ratas</p> <p>Ladies and gentlemen,</p> <p>Dear neighbour(s) and friend(s),</p> <p>Latvian film director Daira Abolina has said that Latvians and Estonians are like half-brothers. Our sense of humour, temperament and languages are different. But at the same time, we share traditions, values and history.</p> <p>Last Saturday we celebrated the centenary of independent Estonia in Tartu, which is by the way, one of the most popular travel destination for Latvians visiting Estonia. Only 3 days later, we are celebrating our 100th Independence Day here in Riga. Thinking of Latvian folklore then this seems to be surprisingly fast for Estonians.</p> The President of the Republic at the Republic of Estonia Independence Day Celebration at the Estonian National Museum 2018-02-24T10:51:35Z 2018-02-24T10:51:35Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14154-the-president-of-the-republic-at-the-estonian-national-museum Anne-Pille Krigolson Anne.Krigolson@vpk.ee <p>"On the anniversary of our Fatherland, I would like to extend to all of you my sincerest congratulations. This day unites us in joy and worry, in work and hardship. On behalf of the people, I would like to assure you that Estonia is grateful that, on this most important of days, we are joined in our celebrations by all our neighbours; by all of the Nordic countries, especially Finland; by the Member States of the European Union, by the Members of the Atlantic Alliance and by our political partners."</p> <p>That was how President Lennart Meri started his speech when celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. And I am sincerely happy to point out that we still have all of that –the difference being that we are now perfectly equal to all of the abovementioned.</p> <p>"On the anniversary of our Fatherland, I would like to extend to all of you my sincerest congratulations. This day unites us in joy and worry, in work and hardship. On behalf of the people, I would like to assure you that Estonia is grateful that, on this most important of days, we are joined in our celebrations by all our neighbours; by all of the Nordic countries, especially Finland; by the Member States of the European Union, by the Members of the Atlantic Alliance and by our political partners."</p> <p>That was how President Lennart Meri started his speech when celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia. And I am sincerely happy to point out that we still have all of that –the difference being that we are now perfectly equal to all of the abovementioned.</p> President of the Republic at the Ceremony for Awarding Decorations 2018-02-21T10:40:38Z 2018-02-21T10:40:38Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14133-president-of-the-republic-at-the-ceremony-for-awarding-decorations Elke Rimpel Elke.Rimpel@vpk.ee <p></p> <p>Around this time 25 years ago, in his first Independence Day speech as president, Lennart Meri said the following: "I saw Estonia as if for the first time: it is a new land, full of hope and potential, but also a land burdened with worries. At the moment, we live on idealism more so than bread. The bearer of this idealism is the older generation, which knows and remembers that Estonia, between the two world wars, was transformed into a powerful and dynamic republic only through hard work. Idealism is also borne by the Estonian youth, just as at the time the Manifesto was proclaimed."</p> <p>The concluding words of Meri's address were borrowed from August Ots, a pre-war parish elder from Saaremaa: "A man must work so hard that he does not need to cut his fingernails."</p> <p>Since then a new generation has been born: the children of 25 years ago are now in this hall. The youth of the 1990s have reached a mature middle age. And our grateful thoughts are with the older generation, the one referred to by President Meri, with those who are still with us today and with those who have passed on.</p> <p>One Generation of Work.</p> <p>You, the people who have gathered here today, are a beautiful embodiment of this work and of its fruit. All of you have built Estonia like you would build a home – whether your tool is a compass or a plane, art or music. This is work well done, because you have put your heart and soul into it. It does not matter if you did what you did in return for a salary or during your free time in the evenings and at weekends. Thanks to your work there are more friends, more knowledge, more security, more memories in this home. And this is how it should be in a proper home. Compared with the time 25 years ago there is definitely more bread, but not less idealism.</p> <p></p> <p>Around this time 25 years ago, in his first Independence Day speech as president, Lennart Meri said the following: "I saw Estonia as if for the first time: it is a new land, full of hope and potential, but also a land burdened with worries. At the moment, we live on idealism more so than bread. The bearer of this idealism is the older generation, which knows and remembers that Estonia, between the two world wars, was transformed into a powerful and dynamic republic only through hard work. Idealism is also borne by the Estonian youth, just as at the time the Manifesto was proclaimed."</p> <p>The concluding words of Meri's address were borrowed from August Ots, a pre-war parish elder from Saaremaa: "A man must work so hard that he does not need to cut his fingernails."</p> <p>Since then a new generation has been born: the children of 25 years ago are now in this hall. The youth of the 1990s have reached a mature middle age. And our grateful thoughts are with the older generation, the one referred to by President Meri, with those who are still with us today and with those who have passed on.</p> <p>One Generation of Work.</p> <p>You, the people who have gathered here today, are a beautiful embodiment of this work and of its fruit. All of you have built Estonia like you would build a home – whether your tool is a compass or a plane, art or music. This is work well done, because you have put your heart and soul into it. It does not matter if you did what you did in return for a salary or during your free time in the evenings and at weekends. Thanks to your work there are more friends, more knowledge, more security, more memories in this home. And this is how it should be in a proper home. Compared with the time 25 years ago there is definitely more bread, but not less idealism.</p> Keynote speech by the President of Estonia at MSC side event “NATO’s Challenges on the Eastern Flank: Enhancing Forward Presence and Maintaining Cohesion“ 2018-02-15T19:00:33Z 2018-02-15T19:00:33Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/14125-keynote-speech-by-the-president-of-estonia-at-msc-side-event-natos-challenges-on-the-eastern-flank-enhancing-forward-presence-and-maintaining-cohesion Anne-Pille Krigolson Anne.Krigolson@vpk.ee <p>Dear Ambassador Ischinger, Minister Schmidt, Admiral Nielson,<br />Ladies and gentlemen</p> <p>First of all I would like to thank the German Atlantic Association and the Munich Security Conference for organizing this side-event. As Estonia is one of the four host nations of the eFP Battle Groups, I would like to use this opportunity to give an overview on what has been done during the last one and a half years since the Warsaw Summit, and what should be done further. And finally also a couple of thoughts on what we should NOT do in regards to eFP and the cohesion of NATO as a whole.</p> <p>What has been done</p> <p>Although the creation and deployment of eFP-s was primarily triggered by the 2014 events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, for Estonia the aim of getting Allied military presence on our soil goes back much further. Against the background of the constant negative tendencies in European security, gaining NATO membership in 2004, becoming part of the collective security space, was a huge and positive development for the Baltic Sea region. But it was certainly not "the end of history" for us. We understood already back then that in order to have fully credible collective defense, one needs also to work on interoperability, realistic contingency planning and military presence by other Allied countries.</p> <p>Looking towards the East, we see a steady military build-up and modernization of the Russian Armed Forces that started already some 10 years ago. Originally, this was explained as a matter of a long-postponed defence reform. More recently, it has been called a reaction to the small Allied contingents deployed in the Baltics. Whatever the reason for the build-up, it is a fact that today the permanent size of the troop contingent in Western Russia is equal to the level that in 2009 was only attained for a short period of time during the exercise ZAPAD 2009. This, unfortunately, is the new normality for us.</p> <p>Dear Ambassador Ischinger, Minister Schmidt, Admiral Nielson,<br />Ladies and gentlemen</p> <p>First of all I would like to thank the German Atlantic Association and the Munich Security Conference for organizing this side-event. As Estonia is one of the four host nations of the eFP Battle Groups, I would like to use this opportunity to give an overview on what has been done during the last one and a half years since the Warsaw Summit, and what should be done further. And finally also a couple of thoughts on what we should NOT do in regards to eFP and the cohesion of NATO as a whole.</p> <p>What has been done</p> <p>Although the creation and deployment of eFP-s was primarily triggered by the 2014 events in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, for Estonia the aim of getting Allied military presence on our soil goes back much further. Against the background of the constant negative tendencies in European security, gaining NATO membership in 2004, becoming part of the collective security space, was a huge and positive development for the Baltic Sea region. But it was certainly not "the end of history" for us. We understood already back then that in order to have fully credible collective defense, one needs also to work on interoperability, realistic contingency planning and military presence by other Allied countries.</p> <p>Looking towards the East, we see a steady military build-up and modernization of the Russian Armed Forces that started already some 10 years ago. Originally, this was explained as a matter of a long-postponed defence reform. More recently, it has been called a reaction to the small Allied contingents deployed in the Baltics. Whatever the reason for the build-up, it is a fact that today the permanent size of the troop contingent in Western Russia is equal to the level that in 2009 was only attained for a short period of time during the exercise ZAPAD 2009. This, unfortunately, is the new normality for us.</p> New Year’s greeting from the President of the Republic on Freedom Square 2017-12-31T19:39:42Z 2017-12-31T19:39:42Z http://admin2.president.ee/index.php/en/official-duties/speeches/13868-new-years-greeting-from-the-president-of-the-republic-on-freedom-square-31-december-2017 Anne-Pille Krigolson Anne.Krigolson@vpk.ee <p>My dear Estonian nation,</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>My dear Estonian nation,</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p>