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Hello. 2017 has arrived. Happy New Year to us all!

May we have the wisdom to take something useful from last year, and continue with renewed energy in the new one. Together we are developing an Estonia where everyone matters and no one is left behind, and where laughter outweighs tears.

I cannot wait to tell you how I went to my home on the Island of Hiiumaa for Christmas, and returned on the new ferry Leiger. I hope you do not mind me turning a spotlight on something that is important for the people of the islands. I cannot help seeing a similarity between the Republic of Estonia, and the new ferries.

First of all, I liked how we were all waiting for the new ferry together: Hiiumaa islanders and mainlanders – including those who might never have set foot on Hiiumaa. Will it be completed, and when? We looked at images, and even discussed how the name should be treated grammatically. We waited some more, and were finally happy to hear of its completion. You see, once on the Island, the sea is the only way out. This is why the late arrival of the ferries was no disaster for us, just part of everyday life. After all, we always think that the future is brighter, once we have been given hope.

Today I feel that it was worth the wait because the ferry is modern and cosy. In clear terms – an awesome vessel. Even during the post-Christmas rush hour, no one had to sit on the floor. And once all three new ferries arrive, passengers to the Islands of Hiiumaa and Saaremaa will surely be more than happy.

It is the same with our country, and the future expectations of our people. We are ready to wait and make efforts, if only we have hope. Malice and bile are the least constructive things there are. This does not mean that we should be happy with everything. On the contrary, we must never do that. We must think further and keep creating, to take our country, language, and culture forward.

We have learned that jobs no longer move from Estonia to the far-off East, but also to Europe. Because it is no longer possible to pay the employees as little in Estonia as it still is in certain other European countries. In other words, we are irreversibly moving towards an economy with smarter labour. This is something that both the employers and the employees must take into account. Both have to learn new things and become wiser.

Fortunately, our young generation is the best educated in the world today. I take my hat off to the students and the teachers, as well as most definitely to the parents. More people are returning to Estonia than leaving here. Our smooth Internet communications are admired the world over. This is a good platform for the state and the people to move forward by leaps and bounds.

The life insurance policy of our country is our membership in the EU and NATO. In this world, we are not creating a new cold war, or a cold peace. However, it is important to understand that we cannot curl into a frightened ball while elephants are fighting on the field around us. We would just be trampled underfoot. We should be very wary of the weakening of these unions – the European Union, and NATO – in any shape or form, as this would be very detrimental to our interests. This is how simple it is.

We might remember how many self-proclaimed pundits predicted the fall of Europe during the Greek crisis, saying it to be only a matter of time. But Europe survived, thanks to unity and cooperation. And will survive in the future, if only the same united spirit prevails.

This is why Estonia is not indifferent to the results of the German and French elections. Will the voters there believe those who know that the world is round? Or those who preach that it is flat, because after all you cannot grasp the roundness with a naked eye? It is in Estonia’s best interests to keep Europe united.

I repeat my wish: Happy New Year to us all!

Happy New Year to all the people who give content to our country.

Happy New Year to our new President. Maybe it is time to understand that just like journalists can be either male or female, so can the presidents, naturally.

Happy New Year and strong health to Presidents Rüütel and Ilves.

Happy New Year to the new government. We are waiting for you to show us that it is possible to do it differently.

Happy New Year to the old government as well. Thank you for everything you have done, and good luck in the future.

Happy New Year to our allies, for whom Estonia is and will always remain a faithful companion.

Happy New Year to my colleagues in the parliament who have been elected by the people.

Happy New Year to all the creators of an open, tolerant, and inclusive society. The future is ours.

Happy New Year, Estonia!

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Riigikogu Press Service
Urmas Seaver
Phone: +372 631 6352; +372 50 39 907
urmas.seaver@riigikogu.ee
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee

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