Former PM Rõivas hands off Stenbock House keys to successor Ratas
Taavi Rõivas, who had led the Government of Estonia as prime minister for two years and eight months, formally passed the baton onto his newly sworn-in successor Jüri Ratas at the Stenbock House in Tallinn on Wednesday.
Rõivas told Ratas that the office of prime minister was first and foremost a responsibility for what Estonia's future would be — how well the state and its independence were guarded, whether people's incomes were growing and what the country's reputation was among its friends and allies.
"I can confirm to you that today, at the moment of transfer, the Estonian state is in good shape," Rõivas told Ratas. "We have a strong defense force who protects our freedom, and for the first time we are joined by allied soldiers. The Estonian state's finances are well maintained, the budget has run a surplus for a number of years now and people's wages are on an increasing trend. Estonia is known internationally as a trustworthy and progressive state. Dear Jüri, I believe that you are the man that will understand well the responsibility of working as the prime minister of the Republic of Estonia. I sincerely wish you successs."
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas thanked Taavi Rõivas and the cabinet led by him for the work they had done. "My deep bow to you for what you have done for the good of the Republic of Estonia; I value it highly," Ratas said.
The new prime minister also took a moment to thank the employees of the Government Office, with whom he was looking forward to enjoying positive cooperation. "I come here [with an] open heart and I believe that we will get on a good wavelength [together]," Ratas added.
The primary goal of the 49th Estonian cabinet sworn in on Wednesday under new Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will be to protect and strengthen Estonian security, bring Estonia out of an economic slump, improve social welfare and coherence as well as get the declining Estonian population back onto an upward trend once more.