President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has congratulated the Lithuanian people and their head of state President Dalia Grybauskaité on the occasion of the country's Independence Day, citing principles also shared by an independent-minded quarter of Vilnius.
In a letter to the president, Ilves recalled a visit two years ago to the self-styled free city of Užupis, a neighborhood in Vilnius, where, accompanied by Grybauskaité, he set up a plaque with the Estonian text of the Užupis "constitution."
Article 32 states that "A person is responsible for his or her freedom." Ilves now wrote that both Estonia and Lithuania have taken that responsibility - to be free as people and as states.
Ilves also said Estonian and Lithuanian independence was never more secure than it is now, as NATO and EU members.
"Yet our history and the significantly transformed security environment due to the military activity from one of our neighbors […] remind us that freedom is not to be taken for granted. We do work every day to preserve and protect our freedom and security, both in our own Baltic-Nordic region and on the transatlantic axis. In this way, we will endure and remain free," Ilves wrote, as quoted by uudised.err.ee.
On more day-to-day political developments, he credited Lithuania for adopting the euro and opening a LNG terminal in Klaipéda, and said he hoped a happy and prosperous future for Lithuania would include the fruition of a number of major joint ventures such as Rail Baltic.
Editor: K. Rikken