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The President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor spoke at the flag ceremony in honour of the 25th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania's independence. In his speech, he highlighted the tight contacts, long cooperation and geographical closeness of the Baltic states, as well as our common material and intellectual culture. He remarked that our countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – are called the Baltic sisters.

“With today’s anniversary in mind, among other things, we can say that our three countries share their independence and their freedom both at the level of achieving it and keeping it. It is impossible to imagine, either now or in the future, how one of us three could be independent and free while the others are not,” Nestor said.

The President of the Riigikogu also emphasised that being free also meant the obligation to share the values of freedom with those whose freedom is in danger and who look to us for our support. “If we want to be worthy of our freedom, we should not turn a deaf ear to others who stand up for their freedom. Unfortunately, during the last year this statement has again been as relevant as it was 25 years ago,” Nestor stressed. He said that freedom could not be borrowed. “Freedom is something you take by yourself, through justice, fight and victory. As the people of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania did a quarter of a century ago, in close cooperation and supporting each other,” Nestor stated.

The President of the Riigikogu said that if some hostile power should again think that the freedom of the Baltic States is a loan that should be returned or reclaimed, they have made an error in calculating their chances. All together, the three of us, we are dozens of times stronger than alone; together with our friends and allies, we are thousands of times stronger.

“You do not have to be a linguist to say that the word vabadus – ‘freedom’ – no matter the choice or number of letters, has a similar meaning in all our languages. The words vabadus, brīvība, laisvė are some of the most beautiful words in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian. And the flying national flags are a moving and a beautiful visual confirmation of that word!” Nestor exclaimed.

The flag ceremony was held on the flag square of the Lithuanian parliament in Vilnius, where the flags of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were ceremoniously hoisted. The speakers included the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, the Speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas Loreta Graužiniene and the Speaker of the Latvian Saeima Inara Mūrniece.

A round table on Small States in the Contemporary Geopolitical Space: Lessons of History and Present-Day Challenges also took place in Vilnius. The Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling took part in this.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/97441645@N08

The Riigikogu Press Service