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VIDEO: End of year interview with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves

Photo: (Rene Suurkaev/ERR)

As part of his traditional end of the year interview with ERR this year, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia, answered some questions in English exclusively for ERR News.

Asked about the main events and developments in the world in 2015, Ilves named the refugee crisis as the foremost problem in the region. It has tested the European Union and its unity in a way that nothing else has before, he noted.

“If we look at other crises, like the Greek financial crisis, we saw that there were differing points of view on fiscal responsibility, but it did not threaten the European Union,” Ilves said. Whereas now, he added, the massive numbers of refugees, and countries letting refugees pass through them without really fulfilling their treaty obligations, present us with a challenge that we have not faced before in Europe, calling into question the very notion of solidarity.

In addition, Ilves pointed out that the Ukrainian crisis remains unsolved, and the Syrian war with the resulting refugee flow will continue to pose a serious problem also in 2016.

However, the president refrained from speculating any further on what the year 2016, his last in the office, will bring to Estonia and the world, reasoning that: “throughout my entire term, all the big developments were things that no one really predicted.”

Editor: M. Oll

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