Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 22.03.2018 | Name days: Tamāra, Dziedra

Kaljulaid: Strong civil society is key to Estonia’s security

(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Estonia’s new President Kersti Kaljulaid

Estonia’s new president Kersti Kaljulaid in the first speech after taking office has emphasised the need to strengthen civil society and asked fellow politicians to encourage Estonians to dream and to be by their side, when dreams have turned into failure.

Here is the full address of Riigikogu by President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid on October 10:
«Honorable Mr. President, Members of the Riigikogu and the Government, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear people of Estonia,

25 years ago, in this very same hall, the Republic of Estonia was restored. We now have a state, a democratic 21st century state. This has been achieved through the contribution of all Estonian people, irrespective of where they live, their profession, or living standard.

Today’s children only know about the occupation as part of the memories of their grandparents. They are the grandchildren of a free Estonia. Today I think about these children – and of their grandchildren.

But indeed, how small is the number of these children. Babies sleep in cots in fewer than fifteen thousand Estonian homes. Approximately one hundred thousand preschool children are there to sneak into their parents’ beds in the morning. All over the world there are hundreds of millions of such children.

These one hundred thousand children and their older siblings are our responsibility. As children grow, they will inevitably lose their sincere faith in the goodness of the world. It is our job to keep up the faith that these children have in Estonia, themselves, and the future.

All the people present in this hall have given one or other oath that conveys the same message: To remain faithful to our constitutional order. This represents an acceptance that common, shared values stand above everyday bickering and self-interest.

In our activities, we create the framework for the meaning of freedom, fairness, and justice in Estonia. We – and we alone – can maintain both the separation and balance of powers. Our attitude, mentality, and activities will decide whether people feel that the highest authority is vested in them. We will determine whether the new generations will have faith in Estonia and themselves and in the future. Let us endeavour to keep their faith.

Ladies and gentlemen, as I stand here before you, I would like to acknowledge my predecessors, as each and every one of them has been great in his era. Lennart Meri by taking Estonia into the West, Arnold Rüütel by bringing Estonia and Europe to the people, and Toomas Hendrik Ilves by launching Estonia into cyber space.

In this increasingly complex world shrunk by information density, we have Estonia, a simultaneously stable and constantly transforming nation that is looking for new targets.

We have a society that believes in education, where schoolchildren exceed their peers almost everywhere in the world.

We have a healthcare system which may occasionally give us cause to complain, yet contributes to the steady increase of average life expectancy. We have a unique culture that binds us together with a wreath of flowers. We have our language, which rises up to the heavens in the winds of incantation and seeks eternity.

We have a society where diversified communities are becoming more and more important. People with various interests and goals contribute together and as one towards making their dreams come true.

This is the Estonia that we wanted to have. 25 years ago we sang together and won Estonia its freedom. The difficulties experienced during the initial years forced many of us to toil on our own. Now we have come full circle. We have a civil society, which we will continue to nurture together.

Indeed, our everyday expectations are no longer as simple and apparent as they used to be. Independence is no longer a goal, simply an expectation. An open world is no longer a dream, just an opportunity.

This is why we now proceed and act as communities, settlement societies, choirs, and boards of school guardians. We enhance our lives, we do it together, and we enrich Estonia. Each and every one of us creates the Estonia that he or she wishes to have. This merges into the state that belongs to all of us. Let us continue to maintain this feeling of togetherness and support!

Dear listeners, unfortunately, all of this does not mean that Estonia can enjoy a carefree existence and simply focus on maintaining what has been achieved. Those who are born into freedom take the sovereignty, security, and freedoms of our small country for granted. We shouldn’t. All gardens are overcome by weeds if not tended to or taken care of.

Our population is getting older, and it is decreasing. The living standards of people depend increasingly on their distance from Tallinn or Tartu, and this is cause for concern. We top rankings that we should be at the bottom of, whether these reflect disparities in wages, rates of suicide, or quantity of alcohol consumed. Many processes that cause us anxiety, to put it mildly, take place in our immediate neighbourhood.

We can’t choose the era or world in which we live, but we can choose the standpoints we take about the world and the people around us. Do we see them as fellow wayfarers who aim for shared goals, or as competitors promoting selfish interests? If we see competitors, we will inevitably start to look for faults and lose our ability to see the positive. Knowing everyone’s weaknesses in detail will bring us no benefits. It will only contribute to the destruction of confidence.

Self-confidence is a prerequisite and important foundation for development and success. Those small children I think about today, as I stand here – they are self-confident. They have immense faith in us, but they also have the same immense faith in themselves.

Confident people build up enterprises, raise happy children in their roles as parents or teachers, compete for research grants, create and maintain our culture, and bring home medals from sports competitions.

But those who are afraid that someone at home, in school, or in the media will gleefully highlight their flaws will not promote our life. There are no perfect or infallible people, but there is also no individual without any strong features. People who are aware that they can expect gloating, ridicule, and public shaming for every mistake they make will lose their ability to make decisions.

We can only develop Estonia by supporting each other. The Constitution is not merely a set of legal provisions. The Constitution gives us basic values to rely on. Those who share these values can consider themselves sterling members of society, even if they are somehow different or we ourselves would choose a different approach within a certain context. Let us cherish our values!

Estonia did not become rich in the last century, when becoming rich required lots of natural resources and resulted in considerable damage to the environment. Luckily for us, we all have the opportunity today, for now wealth and prosperity come from education and the courage to be entrepreneurial. Apart from self-confidence, we must give our children education. This is the most important tool in ensuring they build a future for their own children.

Henry Ford was the first to say that it is not the employer who pays the wages; the employer only handles the wages. Products and increasingly services pay wages. What possible product or service could we develop in Estonia that would harness local conditions and opportunities and contribute to our international success?

This is not just a single large Nokia-type enterprise, rather many products and services that depend on the skills and dreams of their developers. These can only be created through smart work by free and responsible entrepreneurs. The state is responsible for education, and for ensuring the simplicity and freedom of entrepreneurship.

A president of a democratic country cannot single-handedly create a fair, caring environment that supports self-confidence. A president can only articulate and see that important issues for our children and grandchildren – and their children – will always be on the agenda. The president is responsible for the Estonia of our children and grandchildren. An Estonia of self-confident, well-educated, and healthy people.

This leads to an inevitable conclusion – the president must be present in places where people face difficulties. The president must use the power of her words and status of her office to support those who could otherwise be pushed away. It is the job of the president to remember that an ethical state must offer opportunities to the strong and support to the weak.

An ethical state will offer people self-confidence and will therefore become stronger itself. This is a state that belongs to the people. The highest authority can only be vested in people who sense that their leaders are in their service. The leaders of the 21st century create the environment and provide the prerequisites. The leaders of the 21st century won’t issue commands or bans. The leaders of the 21st century will inspire people to strive forward and acknowledge the outcomes. In the 21st century, success will come to countries that act with regard for the future – countries that remember and establish long-term goals.

In our era, when tomorrow is expected to be better than yesterday solely because we have already forgotten everything that happened yesterday, this will be more difficult than ever before. But this is the task for us, the people here, in this hall, today. The self-confidence and courage to act in the interests of our children and grandchildren. Their education. Their health, and the health and well-being of our parents. The care that we show looking after our parents today will show our children how they should take care of us once they are grown up.

The people in this hall must encourage others to dream, and support the realization of their dreams. And we must also be there to pick up the pieces of broken dreams. To support when the light at the end of the tunnel has dimmed, or when there is no light left.

I do believe and hope that in five years we can see more understanding and less condemnation in Estonia. More assistance and less shaming. More courage and less fear.

Back in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt said his famous phrase, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quote has accompanied me for almost 20 years since I first saw it on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C. This sentence was a part of his inauguration speech. It was during the Great Depression. He also added that thankfully, the common difficulties of American society only concerned material things.

The problems of Estonia have never only concerned material things. The same can also be said about the concerns of America during the times of Roosevelt, and he probably knew it, though he didn’t say so. Our greatest problem has never been economic. Our main concern will always be security. How can we ensure that our children’s grandchildren will be able to look at the world with confidence?

Yes, indeed, we do have allies who share our values, and who have helped build the sovereign Estonia that is stronger than it has ever been at any time in its past. Let us cherish our allies and listen to their worries!

But we must never forget that the responsibility for safekeeping our sovereignty starts with us. We must have the self-confidence and faith that we can keep Estonia safe – always, every day.

The most important key to the security of Estonia is its civil society: Free and self-confident Estonian individuals who will stick together with their kindred spirits and are willing to cooperate. The importance of the Defence League in our national defense’s source documents has increased considerably. And this is also a sign of the development of a civil society.

Ladies and gentlemen, I can sense the spirit of cooperation here today, in this hall. And there is even more outside of this hall. We have spoken too little recently about some things that we take for granted – about our dreams for a better Estonia. The Estonia of our grandchildren and of their children.

Time will continue to pass, and indeed the future will inevitably come, even if we don’t think about it every day. However, the rightful, bold decisions we take today will help ensure that the hope in the eyes of those looking at us from their cradles will be fulfilled. To present and future generations, as is stated in the Constitution.

Let us cherish Estonia!»


Leave a reply

Estonian music authors receive record royalties for 2017

The organisation, which is tasked by collecting royalties for local and foreign music in Estonia, the Estonian Authors' Society, has received six million euros in royalties in 2017, which is its record level.

Facebook sorry for permitting exploitation of 50 million user data in politics

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised for the social network failing to ensure enough privacy to its users that allowed for data on about 50 million of its users to abused by a political consultancy firm.

Zhdanok’s replacement to promote non-citizen matter in European Parliament

Miroslavs Mitrofanovs, who has taken Tatyana Zhdanok’s place in the European Parliament, plans to promote the matter of non-citizens in the institution.

Riga City Council committee supports increasing municipalities’ expenditures by 42.38 mln euro

Following an initiative from the Financial Department, the outlook for the municipality’s base budget revenue has been increased by EUR 1.66 million for 2018. The expenditures portion of the budget is planned to be increased by EUR 42.377 million, as reported by Riga City Council.

French ex-President named suspect in Libya funding case

In France, its ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been named as a suspect in the formal investigation for alleged illicit campaign financing, misappropriation of public funds of Libya and passive corruption.

Finance sector’s development council supports prohibition of shell companies

On Wednesday, 21 March, Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis’ managed Finance Sector’s Development Council supported initiative on prohibiting shell companies, as confirmed by the prime minister.

Level of producer prices in Latvia’s industry is up 3.4%

Compared to January, level of producer prices in the Latvian industry rose by 0.5 % in February 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market grew by 0.7 %, but prices of exported products went up by 0.3 %.

Minister: Latvia is far behind its neighbours in terms of digitization and e-skills

In terms of digitization and e-skills, Latvia is far behind its neighbouring countries and the rest of Europe, said Latvian Economy Minister Arvils Ašeradens in an interview to Latvijas Radio.

OECD: Latvian employees work longest hours in Baltics

In a comparison of Baltic countries per average annual hours worked, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has found earlier this year that the average Latvian worker spends 1,910 hours at work, followed by the Lithuanian employee with 1,885 hours and the average Estonian worker with 1,855 hours.

12th Saeima failed to complete half of its pre-election promises in field of justice

In 2014, Delna – society for openness and Providus think tank received support from all parties represented in the 12th Saeima in regards to an action plan to help strengthen the rule of law in the country.

Russia carries out military drills in Gulf of Finland

Russian Defence Ministry has stated that in the Baltic Sea Gulf of Finland, which has Finland, Russia and Estonia in its coastline, the Russian military has performed drills for its tactical special operations units.

Prime minister doubts Anti-Money Laundering Service head’s competence

«The work performed by the service requires drastic changes. Whether or not it can be done by its current head [Viesturs Burkāns], I am not sure,» said Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis in an interview to LNT, commenting on the work performed by Latvian Anti-Money Laundering Service.

Vilnius chosen for office of game developer Lockwood Publishing from UK

UK's mobile game developer Lockwood Publishing has unveiled plans to open its first overseas office in Vilnius, pointing to the industry's talent in Lithuania and the wider region.

Association: municipalities should organize their work on their own

On 6 March, Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments reviewed the letter sent to Riga City Council by Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry, in which the institution ordered the municipality to review their internal order and lift restrictions on the length of debates and the number of questions deputies are allowed to ask.

Canada moves to increase gun control

Canada's federal federal government has proposed new gun control measures, but they could reduce support to the ruling Liberal Party in rural areas, where guns are widely owned and used.

Minister: EU should work on rules to make sure social networks cannot be manipulated

«European Union needs to react to the Facebook data scandal and develop strict regulations to make sure social networks cannot be used to manipulate people. Appropriate regulations are needed in the matter regarding political campaigns performed on social networks, which is gradually becoming a common occurrence nowadays,» says Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs.

Profits of Latvian State Roads increased by 8.6% last year

Turnover of Latvian State Roads reached EUR 14.529 million last year, which is 10.3% more when compared to 2016. The company’s profits increased by 8.6% - to EUR 59,485, according to the published interim financial report.

Slovak President casts doubt over impartiality of proposed government

In a continuation of the political crisis in Slovakia, Slovak President Andrej Kiska has not accepted a the newly proposed government deeming it possibly unable to supervise an impartial investigation of the two murders that have shaken the Eastern European nation.

France's ex-leader Sarkozy in custody over links with Libya

French ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has been taken in custody on March 20 and was held in custody on Tuesday and interrogated amid an investigation into whether late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi added funds to his 2007 election campaign.

KVV Liepājas metalurgs’ steelworks bought out by Austrian Smart Stahl

The auction for the sale of the insolvent KVV Liepājas metalurgs rolling mill equipment concluded with the victory of Austrian Smart Stahl GmbH, as confirmed by insolvency administrator Guntars Koris.

Entomologist: at least 5% of ticks in Latvia are infected with encephalitis

There have been cases of tick activity during the winter period in Latvia this year. As air temperature increases, ticks become active and start popping up. This means residents should seriously consider vaccination to avoid getting encephalitis from tick bites, entomologists say.

Rail Baltica station’s construction at Riga airport will cost EUR 4.5 million

Creation of a separate railway station and related infrastructure at Riga International Airport as part of Rail Baltica project will cost EUR 4.5 million, says the project’s manager in Latvia and board member of European Railway Lines company Andris Linužs.

Norwegian minister steps down to keep minority government in power

In a move to avoid the collapse of the Norwegian minority government, its Justice Minister Sylvi Listhaug resigned amid a political storm she had caused by blaming an opposition party of not being harsh enough toward terrorism suspects.

Political party calls for immediate action to resolve «over-salted Riga» problem

Member of For Latvia’s Development political party’s Riga City Council faction Ansis Ansbergs urges the administration to find a quick solution to the excessive use of salt during the winter season because it has a negative impact on both human and animal health, as well as the state of buildings, cars and plant life in the capital.

MEP: fair competition should be secured for all European farmers

Sixteen members of the European Parliament from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland submitted a joint proposal on Monday, 19 March, for a resolution regarding the future of the Common Agricultural Policy with a request to equalize the level of direct payments across all of Europe starting from 2021.