Ilves: Isolationism reduces EU’s global political and economic strength ({{commentsTotal}})

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a speech at the University of Helsinki on Saturday that openness made Europe stronger, while isolationism would weaken it.

The President said that openness gave the European Union global political and economic strength, while confinement and isolationism reduced it. The unity of the EU had never been tested like it was at the moment, he added.

According to Ilves, calculations made by experts of the Bertelsmann Foundation show that the economic cost of the Schengen area collapsing could reach €1.4 trillion over the next decade.

Speaking about the migration crisis, the President pointed out that last year, more than 30,000 refugees had requested asylum in Finland, and that some of them had come from Russia. Such a number of refugees posed a challenge to society, which Finland had handled with extreme calmness and effectiveness, Ilves said.

He added that this couldn’t be everlasting. While Finland had already accepted 96 relocated refugees from Italy and 44 from Greece, Estonia was still discussing accepting its first refugee, Ilves said.

According to the President, the dangers facing Estonia and Finland are quite the same, but both countries had decided to oppose threats. He also spoke about the two countries' cooperation in the field of information technology.

During his visit in Helsinki, the President and his wife Ieva Ilves met with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and his wife. During a working breakfast, they discussed factors influencing security in the Baltic Sea region and the future of the countries’ IT cooperation.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn

Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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