President Alar Karis: the more in sync our national policies and steps are, the stronger we are in our own defence

  • 2023-12-11

Dear journalists, dear friends, Edgars and Gitanas,

I would like to start by saying that we very highly value our excellent cooperation with our closest neighbours. It is a true pleasure to greet in Tallinn my colleagues and friends Edgars Rinkēvičs and Gitanas Nauseda.

It is a joy to meet you all here at this newly opened Pelgulinna State Secondary School, which is a great example of the combination of environmentally oriented architecture and the high ambition to provide the best education possible for our future decision-makers. 

Youth is our future and we decided not just to state that but to come here and meet the students, to keep them involved in finding solutions to our challenges. We just had a very interesting hour they offered a very lively debate. I guess if PISA tests would measure the debating skills, we could also come on top.

We talked about democracy and how young people can better influence our future policies. Also, about the importance of human rights and freedom to choose your destiny. Freedom to choose own destiny is something we wish to every individual and state.  

Talking about shaping the future, it is a pivotal moment. The decisions we shall make in Brussels this week, at the upcoming European Council will be closely observed in every Ukrainian household. And not only in Ukraine, but also in Moldova and in all nations with strong EU aspiration. Together, we are hoping to move forward in fulfilling their European dream.

Decisions we shall make will send a global signal. It is our moment to show that the EU is determined and strong, preparing to grow stronger. It is our chance to make a strategic investment into European peace, security and prosperity. We must use this momentum wisely and proceed with the EU´s most successful policy – the enlargement.

There is a strong unity behind this and I call not to shake this unity, with groundless concerns. Yes, indeed, the EU must also change to be ready for the enlargement but we can do both simultaneously. Reform our union and find solution to every concern while starting the EU accession talk with the potential new member states, foremost Ukraine and Moldova.

For those who try to drag us to pessimism and demand more analyses, I say: we have been effective. Our policy to help Ukraine in all fields has been successful. Ukraine is well functioning independent state, making necessary reforms, controlling large part of its territory and determined to take back the rest. Therefore, our successful policy needs to be reinforced and continued.  

The Baltic States are NATOs first line of defence. That’s why we are leading by example, and showing NATO, what needs to be done in terms of defence readiness, defence investments, and deterrence. Militarily and politically, we are one and the same region, and the more in sync our national policies and steps are, the stronger we are in our own defence and within NATO.  I have assured my colleagues today that Estonia stands ready to help our neighbours in solidarity during all possible crises, be it border security, undersea infrastructure or an even military threat.

Estonia has been leading the Baltic cooperation and today´s meeting marks the end of our many meetings during this year. I would like to express my gratitude to all our colleagues at different levels to push our cooperation forward in all fields. Very close to my heart has been always the infrastructure connections, Rail Baltica but also the common electricity grid.  

From here we shall all proceed to a working lunch where we plan to cover the most critical challenges facing our three nations today. But we always also look forward to the future as we are well aware that if we plan things together, we achieve more. It has proven to be so in our defence cooperation, border protection and other fields.

I wish strength and best of luck to Lithuania as the chair of Baltic cooperation in 2024.

Thank you!