Europe lacks bold leaders, bemoans Ilves

  • 2013-06-12
  • From wire reports

Solidarity is key for Europe, says Lech Walesa

TALLINN - Democratic capitalism, where discussions are held before any decisions are adopted, has difficulties in competing with non-democratic countries where parliaments decide according to what they are being told, but being more measured is a specific feature of democracy, said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at a discussion on June 3 with the former president of Poland, Lech Walesa, on ‘More or Less of Europe,’ within the framework of the counsel day, Karajad, reports LETA.

President Ilves said, however, that it is distressing of late to see how little Europe has been able to decide and how limited is the number of leaders of the ilk of Germany’s Helmut Kohl and France’s Francois Mitterand, who took the responsibility for reuniting Europe with bold action.

We have seen this kind of boldness recently in Eastern Europe, as the countries here have had the political courage to introduce reforms and we have emerged successfully from the last recession; Poland has a special role and importance here, said Ilves, emphasizing: “Eastern Europe should speak up inside Europe.”

When speaking about the security of Europe, Presidents Ilves and Walesa stated that several European Union member states that are also NATO members are reducing their defense expenses.
Estonia and Poland are among the exceptions, and they urged the allies to increase their defense expenses, as the United States will not agree to pay for the security of Europe infinitely, warned President Ilves.

He described the ageing and decreasing population of Europe as a major problem, recalling that Europe lacks approximately half a million engineers and information technology specialists. “Should we start bringing people in, or start to learn real sciences more ourselves?” he asked, while disapproving of racist allegations towards possible immigrants.

When asked what new values could unite Europe, President Walesa mentioned solidarity as the most important characteristic. According to President Ilves, values should be restored; he gave the Maastricht criteria as an example.
Deputy Chancellor of Justice Hent Kalmo, research specialist of Tartu University Maria Malksoo and Sworn Advocate Carri Ginter also took the floor at the President’s Consel, Karajad.

Karajad was initiated by President Ilves in 2007, and this year it took place as a joint effort of the President’s Academic Advisory Board and CEED Institute, established by one of the most well-known Polish business tycoons, Jan Kulczyk. CEED Institute is a think-tank in Poland that serves the purpose of explaining ideas and projects on enhancing regional efficiency and competitiveness to the public of Central and Eastern European countries.