Nr. 12-2011 Published monthly by:
The Swedish Chamber of Commerce
in Estonia

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From East to North, Ethics, and the Future - About ten years ago, in setting a goal to strive for, I sketched a picture of Estonia as a Nordic country, said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in his speech at Vabariigi Aastapäev – Estonia's Independence Day.

- Today we can already declare that, whether in terms of responsible finance and budgetary policy or openness in trade policy or government; low corruption on the state level or IT solutions, Estonia is quietly and truly becoming a Nordic country. We are finding that we belong to that very part of Europe that we dreamed of for many years.

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- Few countries that have emerged from under totalitarianism and violent occupation have managed to do what Estonia has achieved. We should no longer be ruled by fear. In the absence of fear, fairness becomes important. The rules of fair play must be universal, in every step of life. That includes elections and party politics, continued President Ilves.

- Promises and patronage must not be for sale, not at home or abroad, or in secret and illegally, with a plan to essentially thwart democratic elections. Nor can the legitimacy of the elections be placed in doubt. To put it even more simply – honesty and fairness is important for a free people.

- Attempts at dirty tricks reawaken all of the old fears, which everyone has seen so much effort to rid themselves of. But let it be clear: the people will not let the fear come back.

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- In the next 20 years, being part of Europe will become more and more important for us. The geopolitical balance of the last century is shifting. China is on the ascendant, and, when viewed separately, the largest countries in the European Union are at best only medium or small countries, said the President.

- We should realize that Estonia's opportunities in this new world order lie above all in deep-seated integration.

- In terms of depth, the events of the last month in North Africa should reverberate no less powerfully than the ones 20 years ago in Europe, which transformed post World War II life completely. We do not know where it will all end up. Changes to the old system do not necessarily spell the arrival of a new and better era. We remember setbacks and repercussions, even here in Europe.

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- Estonia is not yet completed. Thank God for that. Happy Independence Day to us all. Elagu Eesti!, concluded President Ilves.

President Ilves speech is available online here.

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