Speeches president http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches Thu, 11 Jan 2018 09:05:26 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb New Year’s greeting from the President of the Republic on Freedom Square http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13868-new-years-greeting-from-the-president-of-the-republic-on-freedom-square-31-december-2017 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13868-new-years-greeting-from-the-president-of-the-republic-on-freedom-square-31-december-2017 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.

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Anne.Krigolson@vpk.ee (Anne-Pille Krigolson) ENG Kõned Sun, 31 Dec 2017 19:39:42 +0000
Welcome remarks at the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Estonian and Latvian accession to the Schengen area http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13854--welcome-remarks-at-the-commemoration-of-the-10th-anniversary-of-estonian-and-latvian-accession-to-the-schengen-area http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13854--welcome-remarks-at-the-commemoration-of-the-10th-anniversary-of-estonian-and-latvian-accession-to-the-schengen-area Honourable President Vējonis,

ladies and gentlemen.

police and border guard members,

the good residents of Valga and Valka,

Time flies – it has already been ten years since the physical border between our countries disappeared. Being neighbours, we had close relations before that time as well, but the lifting of border checks at the Estonian and Latvian border crossings upon accession to the Schengen visa area made interactions between people even simpler and smoother. The dividing line vanished and gave the inhabitants of the border regions impetus to do things and build their home communities together because doing things alone just doesn't yield the same outcome. Together, we have contributed to creating a business-friendly environment in the border regions – it can't be denied, we have done our share to make the Latvian border regions among the most popular destinations for many Estonians, improved services related to health care, developed a joint vocational education system, laid the conditions for cross-border employment, improved our living environment and found solutions to individual problems on our agenda.

We perceive this change best here, in the twin cities of Valga and Valka, where the cooperation between the two communities has always been mutually beneficial and necessary to both sides. A very good example is the way the public urban space is shared by the twin towns, the development of the city centre, and the collaboration in providing art and music education. Valga County Vocational Training Centre offers education to Estonians and Latvians and the inhabitants of both countries receive medical care from Valga Hospital. We can deepen and improve that cooperation and solidarity even further to prevent new barriers from taking the place of the former physical border and getting in the way of people.

We tend to grow quickly accustomed to good things It's the same way with the freedom that the Schengen Area has given us. We take the lack of borders for granted, but to keep it that way, we have to do work every day because calls to dismantle the Schengen system are still heard in Europe.

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mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Wed, 20 Dec 2017 22:00:00 +0000
President of the Republic at sTARTUp Day 2017 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13807-president-of-the-republic-at-startup-day-2017 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13807-president-of-the-republic-at-startup-day-2017 I know it took several years to set up a Startup Day for Tartu, but now you have already made it happen a second year in a row so in the Estonian mindset we can already call it an old tradition. I am convinced that new entrepreneurial environment for Tartu has already been born.

I have also heard that the idea for this day was born in a sauna, also something very Estonian. We embrace new technologies and do it in a radically disorganised way, in a way that a normal country would never do. But planning long ahead was so 20th century. In the 21st century the technology changes so quickly.

As we all know, industrial area jobs are vanishing quickly. As McKinsey`s newest study shows, digitalization and automation have the potential to rebuild a major growth path, within a resilient job market. It is very important to be an innovator and a frontrunner in the field of digitalization. We think that by the end of 2030, 27% of all current jobs in Estonia will be replaced. And this will all come from the fact that we use our digital society to promote our economy, to promote our entrepreneurs and enterprises. Otherwise, if we suddenly started to be afraid of the future and to complain that all this cyber thing is so dangerous, then we would end up with a net loss of jobs by 0,4% during this period. The same dynamics apply to everybody, a developed or a developing country.

When Estonia started to go digital it was not a rich country. On the contrary. Estonia realised that since we were a relatively poor country we had to do things differently. This is a very encouraging sign that you can be innovative at every income level, GDP per capita does not matter. What matters is courage, the ability to cooperate between private and public sector and the states readiness to create a legally permissive environment for investment. Actually the first time we did it was when we created a really good tax system and year later we repeated it when we created a permissive environment for the Estonian Genome Foundation. Estonia and Iceland were the two countries that created such an environment for gene technology development and they managed to get private companies involved. You know what happened then? Other states joined the market. They paid public money to get things done. Let`s make sure that the same thing doesn`t happen with digital innovation.

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mattias.tammet@vpk.ee (Mattias Tammet) ENG Kõned Fri, 08 Dec 2017 10:42:13 +0000
President of the Republic at the Annual Human Rights Conference 2017 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13831-president-of-the-republic-at-the-annual-human-rights-conference-2017 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13831-president-of-the-republic-at-the-annual-human-rights-conference-2017 I have to say that with Kristina united we stand (Danish ambassador in Estonia, Kristina Miskowiak Beckward) against everybody who says that the United Nations are a big behemoth who spits out faxes by kilometers a day (yes faxes—Estonians, these are the machines that send you paper) and small countries have no chance to even read all that, let alone react to it. We small states have taken this into our own hands and supported by the bigger ones, we've actually managed to bring a change to the UN. The Secretary General of the UN is now promising us a more coherent UN, a reformed UN that is more efficient and effective, therefore easier to handle, also for smaller countries. Actually, it is the same current Secretary General, who came into office by a renewed election procedure. And it was Estonia, strongly supported by Costa Rica and 25 other countries that brought along this change. We actually had a big part in creating a merit based election for the Secretary General post of the United Nations.

It was New Zealand who brought climate as a security issue to the Security Council. It was Senegal who brought the lack of clean water as a security issue to the Security Council. It was Lithuania who brought the Ukrainian question to the Security Council. We have now moved to a situation where we will maybe finally have - with the support of the OECD - a UN mission in Ukraine. Hopefully it will be this way that leads to ending the partial occupation of the country.

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kaidi.aher@vpk.ee (Kaidi Aher) ENG Kõned Fri, 08 Dec 2017 06:49:59 +0000
Welcoming remarks at the Christmas reception to diplomatic corps http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13806-welcoming-remarks-at-the-christmas-reception-to-diplomatic-corps http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13806-welcoming-remarks-at-the-christmas-reception-to-diplomatic-corps Excellencies, dear friends,

Glad to see you all here tonight and I hope that today's reception is one of the last firewalls before your Christmas break.

Having worked and lived abroad myself, I know very well the feeling many of you have at this time of the year. There is still plenty to do but the thoughts start to get distracted by the warm feeling of either getting home for Christmas or having your family over, spending time together and cherishing what is most important in life. Quite often, we appreciate these occasions even more when serving our countries abroad as you do here in Estonia.

Occasions like today are first and foremost festive ones. It is an opportunity to be among friends and partners. An opportunity to thank you all personally for the hard work you have done away from home and quite often from family to further strengthen the relations and cooperation between your countries and Estonia. I personally appreciate it a lot.

Christmas and the end of the year comes with traditions. Reflecting how the past year has gone being one of them. 2017 has been yet another extraordinary year when developments in the world did not go often as planned or predicted. And therefore we constantly need to adapt ourselves. The past year has further convinced me that during the unpredictable and turbulent times we live doing things alone does not pay off. It has equally demonstrated that in the 21st century small countries can be bigger than defined by the mere number of square kilometres and punch above their weight.

Highlighting something specific is always a tricky thing to do. Nevertheless, I would mention two developments that have made 2017 an exceptional one for Estonia. First, the deployment of NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence to Estonia that helps to defend NATO's borders. Thank you all who have made this deployment go smoothly. I promise we will work on it together also in the future that every single soldier feels welcome, feels valued, and feels like they can spend their time usefully in Tapa. We make sure that exercising together with our first infantry brigade is useful for all, and helps NATO to understand better what it means to be able to deter and if necessary, defend its eastern flank. The lessons learned have already added enormously to our common understanding on how eFP's capacity to defend can be further developed.

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mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Wed, 06 Dec 2017 22:00:00 +0000
President of the Republic at the Business Europe Council Meeting in Tallinn http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13866-president-of-the-republic-at-the-business-europe-council-meeting-in-tallinn http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13866-president-of-the-republic-at-the-business-europe-council-meeting-in-tallinn On Brexit, I have to say that the Estonian Presidency is still hopeful that sufficient results will be achieved in the final General Affairs Council of this year. We are holding out hope that these three most important issues can be solved to a certain extent. In the beginning it seemed that the financial settlement is a complicated issue but in the reality, the most difficult issue to settle is the question of the Irish border. If our Irish colleagues and partners say that they are satisfied with what can be agreed still this year, then one of the final decisions of the Estonian Council Presidency could actually be that we might be able to move into the second phase of the negotiations. Estonians are very much hoping that this will happen because we realize that clarity is essential in this situation.

I would like to return to something Tiit Kuuli said about Estonia: he mentioned that in Estonia people like me fluctuate relatively freely between the public and private sector. This is a sign that we have a permissive legal environment for people moving and disseminating ideas between private and public sector. This is a big part of our society and also the foundation of the digital Estonia, which you had a chance to see yesterday. I happen to know that the paperless government of Estonia in 2000 was born because the technology expert and adviser at the Prime Minister's office came to the public sector from the private sector and was wondering why digital databases, which were used widely in the private sector, were not at all common in the public sector. The Prime Minister decided that, "let us go paperless as a government", and we did.

It was actually astonishing for that adviser—Linnar Viik, and me and all the others – we stood by and observed how people from really good newspapers like the Financial Times and Economist, they stood in awe, and said, "oh my God, here is a government where ministers push buttons". They asked: "Who is helping them to go through the system?" We knew that in the private sector, this had existed for 10 years. You could not imagine a big company's board meeting without some kind of online paper filing system. We noticed that in the public sector this is something that no one has done, and it seemed a competitive advantage.

We sold our paperless government internationally very successfully and with no technical innovation, it was quite old-fashioned already for the private sector. It actually earned the money spent on it back in a couple of months, just counting the pages we covered in the international media. This was still important for us. In 2000 Estonia was not a member of EU or NATO and was not so well known. We could have gone the traditional route and bought some ads with a message like "Estonia Positively Transforming". We did not do it. Instead we created a paperless government and got coverage for that. We found it worked very well. This was the beginning of the digital Estonia.

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kaidi.aher@vpk.ee (Kaidi Aher) ENG Kõned Fri, 01 Dec 2017 14:34:42 +0000
President of the Republic At the Plenary Meeting of the LVIII COSAC http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13782-president-of-the-republic-at-the-plenary-meeting-of-the-lviii-cosac http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13782-president-of-the-republic-at-the-plenary-meeting-of-the-lviii-cosac Speaker of Riigikogu, Mr Eiki Nestor,

Mr Barnier,

Mrs Hübner,

Your Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my pleasure to welcome you in Tallinn for the Plenary Meeting of EU's Parliaments EU Committees (COSAC) meeting. This is one of the biggest events of our EU Council Presidency here in Estonia. In slightly more than a month, the active part of the Presidency, first ever has finished. The people who have been engaged with the Presidency both here in Estonia and in Brussels, they can finally relax and enjoy their Christmas holidays. I am very grateful for their hard work. But of course we will remain firm supporters and cheerleaders for the next Presidencies, Bulgaria and Austria our trio partners.

184 days to solve all the challenges that Europe faces is not a long time. It is not yet the time to look back to our ongoing Presidency and draw final conclusions. But our overarching aim – breaking the ice of negativity about our Union – seems to be really happening and I am glad about it.

The hard work on common security policy approach is finally reaping the results. The digital agenda has focused the minds of policymakers on the fact that important part of our people's and our businesses' activities takes place online and the governments have a certain obligation to facilitate and protect in the cyberspace.

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mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Mon, 27 Nov 2017 12:25:50 +0000
Keynote speech at the European Defence Agency Annual Conference "Security in the digital age: the added value of European cooperation" http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13766-keynote-speech-at-the-european-defence-agency-annual-conference-qsecurity-in-the-digital-age-the-added-value-of-european-cooperationq- http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13766-keynote-speech-at-the-european-defence-agency-annual-conference-qsecurity-in-the-digital-age-the-added-value-of-european-cooperationq- Dear Mister Domecq, ladies and gentlemen,

I know that I am the last firewall between you and lunchtime, therefore let me get down to business right away. There are three issues that I deem important and want to share with you – the importance of cyber hygiene for all our citizens, the importance of really understanding cyber security for all the decision-makers, and the role that the European Defence Agency could have in all of this.

There is probably no need to stress to anybody in this room the importance of cyber security. But I am not equally sure that this sense of importance and urgency is shared by most people outside this conference venue. Very important to move form cyber defence to cyberhygiene, technology will not help us against human factor.

Take, for example, the case of the e-mail hack of the US Democratic National Convention of 2016. Whatever we might think of who was behind this operation or how much influence this incident had on the US presidential election results, the fact seems to be, that it was largely made possible by hacking the accounts of Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. It was not an elaborate technical operation, but rather a very simple phishing operation. Meaning that somebody posed as Google Mail and fooled both Mister Podesta and his IT-support people to giving his passwords. This, combined with not having a two-factor authentication, caused one of the most talked-about e-mail hacks of the last years. And shows – among other things – how little people adhere to basic cyber hygiene and what the consequences might be.

Of course we should never blame the victim, it's just the overall amount or cycle of a problem. And it will continue to be a problem as long as people use "password", "12345" or "qwerty" continue to be most popular passwords. And I am also quite sure that there is at least a couple of people in this room who might actually share the same kind of passwords.

Therefore – along all the fancy initiatives, cyber defence programs and new institutions that we create, we must not forget that the human factor and basic cyber hygiene continue to be things that will cause security breaches and incidents also in the future. I do admit that enforcing cyber hygiene is mainly a matter for Member States, but European Union can surely be in this matter a backer and contributor to awareness raising projects. And I am sure that every Member State is doing something in this field. But enhanced message from all of us to our citizens is needed. Given importance of the topic I believe that it would be very practical to learn from each other and also share the best practices, which have helped to raise the level of cyberhygiene in societies.

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mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Thu, 23 Nov 2017 12:34:40 +0000
At the Digital Transport Days 2017 http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13744-at-the-digital-transport-days-2017- http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13744-at-the-digital-transport-days-2017- Dear distinguished guests and participants of this conference.

I really would like to offer you a belated welcome to Tallinn at the Digital Transport Days. I want to thank the organizers from the European Commission and organizers from the Estonian Presidency team for making this important event happen. As you know, the digital agenda is very close to our hearts in Estonia. Therefore I am extremely glad to welcome you all here.

In Estonia, we have already gone through a societal disruption to make sure our citizens and our businesses have a totally digital environment to deal with both the State and with their private partners. I hope you understand that we will also be at the forefront of digital transport solutions. It cannot be otherwise. Digital transport will definitely be a part of digital society, and it is of course easier to have a transport partner already in digital society than creating everything at one step, so I think we are one step ahead and challenge more to catch up.

The movement and connectivity of people is the core of today's society. It is clear that the future transport systems need to meet society's economic, social and environmental needs, while minimising their undesirable impacts, mainly related to pollution and accidents.

During Commissioner Violeta Bulc's last visit to Tallinn, she brought to our attention a sad fact that every day in Europe, we lose 70 people in traffic incidents and 350 more are seriously injured. In transport, we create 24% of the pollution. An average person spends a horrible 6 weeks every year in traffic. Part of it is unavoidable, but can be made shorter and smoother by clever congestion management. Part of it is totally unnecessary already by Estonian standard, like driving some place to register the birth of your child, signing a document, applying for kindergarten place. The first, like the latter, will ultimately depend on online solutions.

Therefore, I welcome all discussions that highlight the importance of the future technology and innovation in transport.

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mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Thu, 09 Nov 2017 22:00:00 +0000
Public lecture at the Akaki Tsereteli University, Kutaisi http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13695-president-of-the-republic-public-lecture-at-the-akaki-tsereteli-university-kutaisi http://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/13695-president-of-the-republic-public-lecture-at-the-akaki-tsereteli-university-kutaisi Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

To start with, I would like to convey my appreciation for the possibility to speak to this audience today, at the last day of my State Visit to Georgia. I firmly believe that in addition to the official meetings, tête-à-tête talks, press points and interviews, it is equally important to reach out to the wider public as well. It is an honour to be in the Akaki Tseretli University in Kutaisi.

In the former capital city of United Georgia. In the city that holds a distinguished place in Georgia with is cultural, educational and business traditions.

Kutaisi and Estonia are geographically far from each other but we are closer than many would imagine. Your hometown has good relations with our university town Tartu. I was for 5 years Chairman of the Board for Tartu University, that's why I know - Estonia and Tartu were very much valued in Georgia almost 200 years ago.

Prince and poet Grigol Orbeliani suggested in 1830s to his nephew, the great Georgian poet Nikoloz Baratashvili to study in the University of Tartu that was well known for its free spirit and good education.

This free spirit was back then seen as something contemporary and forward-looking. Tartu was well known for it then and Estonia today. So the link is there. It is spiritual and future orientated.

I am pleased that the audience in front of me is comprised mostly of young people as the future of your country is in your hands. Majority of you have been born after Georgia regained its independence. You have grown up in a society that has had tough and turbulent times. Nevertheless, you are lucky and privileged to have had the opportunity to grow up and to be educated in a free country and democratic society.

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mailin.aasmae@vpk.ee (Mailin Aasmäe) ENG Kõned Thu, 02 Nov 2017 11:44:19 +0000