Speeches president http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:12:09 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb President of the Republic at the opening of the autumn legislative session http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14526-president-of-the-republic-at-the-opening-of-the-autumn-legislative-session http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14526-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.

kaidi.aher@vpk.ee (Kaidi Aher) ENG Kõned Mon, 10 Sep 2018 08:37:01 +0000
The President of the Republic at the reception commemorating the 27th anniversary of restoration of independence http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14502-the-president-of-the-republic-at-the-reception-commemorating-the-27th-anniversary-of-restoration-of-independence http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14502-the-president-of-the-republic-at-the-reception-commemorating-the-27th-anniversary-of-restoration-of-independence Dear visitors to the Rose Garden, dear people in homes across Estonia!

In 1988, speaking at the Song of Estonia event in the Song Festival Grounds, Siim Kallas said, "We knew there would be a scandal. But then we thought it would be worse if the people didn't understand and the substance of our proposal would be lost in some kind of fog. It all turned out differently. What has happened is actually unbelievable." Kallas continued, describing the discussions with the public over the IME (Self-Managing Estonia) proposal: "Two hours of questions that made us sweat because they were so to the point. That's the kind of support we will need more of in future. Sober, intelligent."

Reflecting on Kallas's words, back then we had the strength to engage in politics– to engage with the entire nation and to pursue complex political activity. In much more complicated conditions then what we have today.

Even despite the fact that words spoken by Soviet-era dissident Erik Udam at the founding meeting of the Estonian National Independence Party characterize us well. He said, "Maybe we have little experience as we were forced to live under duress – for their entire lives, people my age and younger haven't been able to be politically active in a free country. Because of that, we may stumble, we may err, but I don't have any doubt that we're all led by a sincere desire to do our part for our homeland. That desire is unselfish and I hope that our endeavours will not be without results."

Today we are a much more experienced, much more successful people. Democracy is not new for us. It is not futile to hope that this coming autumn, winter and spring will generate many good ideas about which political stratagems can shape the best of possible futures for us.

However, there is a key problem with this discussion that I want to share with the Estonian people. The conversations we have to have amongst ourselves are not just simple talk. We have to talk about what would support the gains and benefits that come from thinking.

We do not have to talk about these things in overly complicated terms. Ultimately, a politician's main professional skillset is to be able to make complex matters more or less comprehensible. The art of politics is to make complicated things understandable, not the art of actively selling simple promises. We will hopefully see this art on display in the upcoming political season.

I do not discount those election pledges that are well articulated and aimed at bringing balance to the development of Estonian society – far from it. But that does not happen automatically. The best ways to ensure that society develops in a consistent manner is to think things through with the electorate.

katrin.loo@vpk.ee (Katrin Loo) ENG Kõned Sun, 19 Aug 2018 22:00:00 +0000
President of the Republic at the opening of Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14495-president-of-the-republic-at-the-opening-of-vabamu-museum-of-occupations-and-freedom http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14495-president-of-the-republic-at-the-opening-of-vabamu-museum-of-occupations-and-freedom We have freedom and are free to speak about freedom. This is something quite significant, although it seems self-evident today. The museum helps us to remember how it was when a free idea or a free word could quite easily cause one to lose their freedom for a very long time. It helps us to remember and explain this to our children and grandchildren, who are lucky not to have had this experience.

Vabamu tells us the story of the crimes committed by the occupation authorities. The museum speaks about the lack of democracy and freedom and how we fought against it, how we restored our state. This was the biggest breakthrough in our story – an abrupt improvement in the quality of life only because you were able to talk freely. You did not have to be afraid any more to whom, with whom or what you talked about or the consequences this could bring to your family members or to yourself.

Freedom is so important for society. It is so important to give society freedom and it is possible to do so quite quickly. Everything else came later and freedom is in many ways its prerequisite. Life improved immediately and simply because people freely published their thoughts in newspapers; they were already able to go to meetings before the restoration of independence; they were free to discuss what our leaders and emerging politicians were saying. Disagreements arose based on different political choices. This was completely incredible. This museum can pass on this message, just as all of us who remember those years have an obligation to pass on this message.

It is possible to imagine a good life in terms of material things without much freedom. There are always those that offer freedom not to think or freedom to restrict somebody else's freedoms on a silver platter. However, it is important to understand that in itself this constitutes the beginning of giving up our freedom. If somebody's freedoms are restricted, it will inevitably lead to a restriction of our rights at some point.]]> kaidi.aher@vpk.ee (Kaidi Aher) ENG Kõned Tue, 14 Aug 2018 13:54:23 +0000 President Kersti Kaljulaid at the International Westphalian Peace Prize award ceremony in Münster http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14475-2018-07-17-11-25-26 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14475-2018-07-17-11-25-26 President Steinmeier,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen

I sincerely thank you all for awarding Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with the eleventh International Westphalia Peace Prize. Thank you very much. Receiving the award for democratic development is a great honour and privilege for Estonia. Especially at the time when we are celebrating the centenary of our statehood. Especially here in Nordrhein-Westfalen that has traditionally had good relations with Estonia and in Münster with its history of fostering peace in Europe.

The Westphalian Peace Treaty signed here in Münster in 1648 marked the end of the Thirty Years' War. A war that we still remember for its cruelties. At the time, Estonia of course was not yet an independent country. However, maybe you did not know, but Estonian men were fighting in the Battle in Lützen in 1632 in the army led by the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf. The king lost his life in the battle, but just before the battle, he managed to sign an order to establish the first university in Estonia in Tartu.

So, something good comes out of every crisis and links us for centuries. The Westphalian Peace Treaty was the first all-European peace treaty. After the brutalities of the war, it shaped our thinking about war and about peace. It also laid a foundation for the modern international system of sovereign states. Of course, the Westphalian system was not perfect. As we know by now, it did not guarantee everlasting peace and prevent wars.

mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Fri, 13 Jul 2018 22:00:00 +0000
President of the Republic at the Graduation Ceremony of Sciences Po http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14443-president-of-the-republic-at-the-graduation-ceremony-of-sciences-po- http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14443-president-of-the-republic-at-the-graduation-ceremony-of-sciences-po- Dear graduates!

Please accept my sincerest congratulations! You are coming to the end of your formal education path, which we, the generation of your parents, lovingly prepared for you.

We did it with your best interests in our mind. Yet, we did it from the perspective of the past. You have acquired an education we thought would prepare you adequately for the challenges of your generation. Of course, as all loving parents before us, we've got some things right and missed some opportunities.

At some point, we realized that the technological cycle has been shortening. We did foresee, to a certain extent, that the 21st century would see the birth and death of much more inventions than the 20th century. After all, only petroleum lamp and horse cart truly expired in the 20th century. Most inventions just became more efficient, but survived.

We did not foresee that the first mobile phones we gave you would be from Stone Age by the time you graduate from university.

We did not foresee that the digital disruption to our societies would be so profound that many of you will be able to work very differently from us already at the time of your graduation.

We did not foresee that geography becomes meaningless for many professionals while seeking jobs. We did not foresee that many of you would not need to do what economists thought was inevitable for a whole century – gather into enterprises in order to work in the most productive manner.

Anne.Krigolson@vpk.ee (Anne-Pille Krigolson) ENG Kõned Fri, 29 Jun 2018 22:00:00 +0000
President Kersti Kaljulaid's keynote speech at the Northern Light Summit http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14440-president-kersti-kaljulaids-keynote-speech-at-the-northern-light-summit http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14440-president-kersti-kaljulaids-keynote-speech-at-the-northern-light-summit Ladies and gentlemen, dear listeners

It's an honour for me to stand before so many business leaders and decision-makers, and to describe to you the Estonian fairy tale of development of the last quarter of a century. All successful management strategies in rapidly changing or even unpredictable global environment involve grasping opportunities, while managing the risks. This applies for businesses and for states, even if their coping strategies have to be different.

I admit that for obvious reasons not all Estonians share the view that our development over the last 25 years has been 'great'. However, by the end of the day probably everybody understands that you cannot have the Scandinavian welfare system and Singaporean lean state, Scandinavian wage levels and Latvian low prices all at once. Anyway, this is roughly, what Estonian people demand from their rulers and I feel squaring these circles the best way is also a key to sustain the success what Estonia has achieved in last 25 years. Teething troubles of a young democracy, as you see.

In 1992, when Estonia exited the rouble zone and adopted Estonian krona, we did it in an innovative way. Our then President of the Central bank Siim Kallas, whom most of you here know very well, I believe, was facing resistance from the IMF to support our monetary reform. The reason? Nobody had gone so bold, so radical, so high risk and, from the other hand, so simple way. Simply adopting the krona, fixing its exchange rate to gain public confidence in it, floating it free from day one to avoid black market of currency exchange, and to adopt a law that budget has to balance, because you cannot sustain a currency board without fiscal stability. IMF said no. Impossible. Money would leave the country. You will never balance the budget, poor as you are. You will have to devalue at one point and therefore promising people that 8 kronas will buy you 1 deutsch-mark forever is not sustainable.

I am not saying IMF was not right about risks. Of course it was. But Estonia started to exhibit the character which later brought us the digital state which is now our global image. They could not consider this, as we ourselves could not say what it was. By now, we know. Estonia can, unlike no other country, create permissive legal environment for innovation, both public and private.

mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Fri, 29 Jun 2018 10:53:59 +0000
At the Victory Day parade, Tallinn Song Festival Grounds http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14417-the-president-of-the-republic-of-estonia-at-the-victory-day-parade-23-june-2018-tallinn-song-festival-grounds http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14417-the-president-of-the-republic-of-estonia-at-the-victory-day-parade-23-june-2018-tallinn-song-festival-grounds Dear Defence League members, fellow people of Estonia here in Tallinn or in homes throughout Estonia,
Today, here at the Song Festival Grounds, organized by the Defence League, we bear witness to the Estonian people's will to defend their country. We see everyone's commitment, will and preparedness – and we also demonstrate it. The parade raises our self-confidence as we show that, if necessary, the entire people are involved in our defence.

To our allies this parade demonstrates that Estonians are prepared to stand up for themselves if needed to. To our opponents the parade demonstrates that Estonia's power is not merely limited to professional soldiers or even trained reservists. Estonia's power lies in the readiness of the entire people to stand up for themselves and support each other in hardship.

Our own power and will is the greatest guarantee of our security. Our response to crises related to public safety – such as this dry spring's forest fires – involves the entire people. The people turned out alongside professional rescue workers, and professional rescuers know how to interact with volunteers.

Accidents happen. They cannot be completely prevented. Unfortunately, we must admit that the fires are sparked by our own actions. Much work must be done before everyone senses their responsibility to act pre-emptively, to keep at least avoidable accidents from happening. In this endeavour, rescuers and volunteers are also working side-by-side. I would like to thank all the rescue-service volunteers – a contingent that has always included many Defence League members. Every challenge that we resolve jointly shows yet again that we would also act in concert in the case of a serious security crisis. Precisely this readiness is the best kind of prevention – people who want with all their hearts to defend themselves are indeed defended. The people's own commitment is what gives real value to our readiness, skills, knowledge and equipment.

Fellow people of Estonia!

We live in a world of paradoxes. On one hand, today Estonia is better protected than ever before. We have perseveringly developed our independent defence capability while establishing strong alliances with friends who share the same values we do.

eve.salumaa@vpk.ee (Eve Salumaa) ENG Kõned Sat, 23 Jun 2018 11:03:22 +0000
On Town Hall Square in Tartu 22 June 2018 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14413-the-president-of-the-republic-of-estonia-on-town-hall-square-in-tartu-22-june-2018- http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14413-the-president-of-the-republic-of-estonia-on-town-hall-square-in-tartu-22-june-2018- Dear people of Tartu and distinguished guests,

I am very glad to welcome you in the heart of the city of Tartu. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, we are graced today by the presence of good friends with whom we share common values. A century ago, they, like us, went through a crucial period in the formative years of their statehood.

I am pleased that we can commemorate our country's anniversary here in Tartu in particular, as it is the home of our oldest and largest university. Our only Universitas. The university is what made Tartu into what it is for Estonians and the entire world.

Above all, Tartu is a key bulwark for Estonians' and Europeans' academic world.

Elke.Rimpel@vpk.ee (Elke Rimpel) ENG Kõned Fri, 22 Jun 2018 10:28:02 +0000
Address of the President at the dinner in the white hall of the Museum of Tartu University http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14419-president-of-the-republic-on-the-occasion-of-the-visit-of-presidents-of-finland-georgia-iceland-latvia-and-poland-to-celebrate-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-estonian-republic-22nd-june-2018-in-tartu http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14419-president-of-the-republic-on-the-occasion-of-the-visit-of-presidents-of-finland-georgia-iceland-latvia-and-poland-to-celebrate-the-100th-anniversary-of-the-estonian-republic-22nd-june-2018-in-tartu Dear colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure and great honour to welcome you in Tartu to celebrate among friends the centenary of the Estonian Republic with Gaudeamus – the Baltic students' song and dance festival held since 1956.

As a home to Estonia's oldest university, Tartu has always carried a sense of freedom. Greatest figures of Estonian national awakening time studied and worked in Tartu. And 30 years ago it was in Tartu where our national flag was waved again in public.

I remember that emotional spring day as a student very vividly. It truly felt like spring was everywhere, no clouds in the sky. At least for the young people.

Tartu is not only about being an Estonian, national awakening, independence and regaining it. Tartu, which we also call Athens of the River Emajõgi, has a special place also for Finland, Georgia, Iceland, Latvia and Poland.

As kindred people,

the relations between Finland and Estonia have always had a special importance and meaning. Our languages, culture and similar world perception have brought us close together.

Since 1991 Finland has permanently been present in Tartu – with its students, lecturers, Fraternitas Fennica, cultural and business relations and Tampere Maja to name

a few visible and noticeable links, but also through countless unnoticeable links. Integration between Finland and Estonia through cooperation has become part of our everyday lives. We used to say that our language brings us together, now it is the only thing which separates us.

eve.salumaa@vpk.ee (Eve Salumaa) ENG Kõned Thu, 21 Jun 2018 22:00:00 +0000
At the Global Leadership Summit in Gothenburg http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14374-at-the-global-leadership-summit-in-gothenburg http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14374-at-the-global-leadership-summit-in-gothenburg First, thank you for inviting me. Estonia and Volvo are perfect partners, because globally you employ close to 100 000 people. Estonia on the other hand has 117 000 people working in industry – everybody else is in services. Therefore, we are a perfect match. However, there are other similarities. Your annual turnover is 5 billions bigger than Estonia’s GDP. So we are actually very well matched.

Estonia is globally the only digitally transformed society that has the full support of its state.

First, I would have to prove to you why I believe that we already have a digitally transformed society.

Up until last year, we thought that we can have a digital environment and if something goes wrong – because as you know in digital it always does, as you are always in Beta versions —there could be a paper alternative. Then last year it went wrong as a lot of digital chips were withdrawn from global market. One billion in fact.

Most of them opened doors in factories, but for us and some other countries it worked as a digital identity. In those other countries, these cards were simply closed down – nothing happened, nobody noticed.

Obviously, there were no services linked to digital identity. In Estonia, however, we almost had a riot. Not because we closed down the services – we did not–, but because some ID-cards would not get the patch online, so people had to go to the Police and Boarder Guards` office to get the patch.

mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Wed, 13 Jun 2018 22:00:00 +0000