Estonian president in Cyprus: 20 years in EU has made us strong, much closer

  • 2024-03-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian President Alar Karis, speaking at the University of Cyprus, said that 20 years in the EU has made Estonia and Cyprus strong.

"Estonia and Cyprus joined the European Union at the same time. These 20 years in the EU have made us strong and much closer. We have worked together and supported each other in various endeavors, and we have seen that our determination and unity propel us forward. Each expansion has also made the Union stronger and larger. We, as Europeans, are in some ways different, but this only brings us closer together. This is the goal of Europe. This is Europe," the president said.

"As countries situated at the crossroads of cultures and civilizations, Estonia and Cyprus know that the rules-based international order is a safety net for small nations. Our cooperation with Cyprus in supporting peace and stability in Europe and beyond will continue," Karis said.

The president also spoke about Estonia as a land of digitalization and unicorns and detailed international security challenges in Europe and the broader region.

He said it is necessary to resist any attempts to dismantle the international order.

"For us -- Estonia and Cyprus -- our past and present allow us to understand the importance of sovereignty and independence and respect for human rights. We must remain united, courageous and determined in adhering to democratic principles and international law," Karis said.

The president also spoke of the need to reform the UN Security Council, as the world needs effective support from an institution that can reliably ensure peace and security for every country.

On Thursday, Karis is scheduled to meet with Colin Stewart, a UN special representative and head of peacekeeping forces in Cyprus, and visit the Committee on Missing Persons, which deals with the search, identification, and return to relatives of the remains of those killed in the conflict 50 years ago.

Additionally, the Estonian head of state will visit the Cyprus Institute, a non-profit research and educational institution with a scientific and technological orientation.

At the end of the visit, the Estonian head of state will familiarize himself with the crisis training facility Cyprus Center for Land, Open Seas, and Port Security (CYCLOPS). This unique regional crisis training center in Europe trains mainly regional experts to enforce sanctions, guard borders, detect contraband, identify biological and nuclear weapons, and more.