President Alar Karis noted on Sunday that he was looking forward to the day Ukraine can join the European Union – marking the 18 years since Estonia's accession.
This year's anniversary has been particularly poignant due to the war in Ukraine, a country which applied for membership of the union days after it was invaded by Russian Federation forces, in late February this year.
The President tweeted that it had been 18 years since Estonia's: "European dream came true, by joining the EU. We have enjoyed all the freedoms, have become part of world's largest and strongest single market, and been involved in resolving all the major crises that Europe has faced. Looking forward to the day Ukraine joins us."
18 yrs ago, Estonian European dream came true with joining the @EU. We have enjoyed all the freedoms, have become part of world's largest & strongest single market, been involved in resolving all the major crises that #Europe has faced. Looking forward to the day Ukraine joins us pic.twitter.com/OR5bGaRgTX— Alar Karis (@AlarKaris) May 1, 2022
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), quoting one of Alar Karis' predecessors, noted that Europe is not merely a geographical entity, but also a unity of, and allegiance to, principles.
#OTD in 2004, Estonia and 9 more countries joined the EU. A landmark moment.— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) May 1, 2022
As the great Lennart Meri said, Europe is not geography, it's a unity of and an allegiance to principles. Principles shape geography, not vice versa.
This is more true than ever today. Slava Ukraini. pic.twitter.com/85G1uPVZHG
Foreign minister Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) tweeted that she was: "Proud of how far Estonia has come and what we have achieved in these 18 years in the EU."
"We stand united in our shared values," the foreign minister added.
Following a referendum in September 2003 in which just over two-thirds of respondents voted in favor of joining the EU, Estonia joined the EU in 2004, the same year that it had joined NATO; the latter anniversary arrived on March 29 this year.
Latvia and Lithuania both joined NATO and the EU at the same time; on the anniversary of the latter accession, Lithuania's prime minister, Ingrida Simonyte, tweeted that: "Today my country is celebrating the 18th anniversary of membership of the . We knew that this was a goal that would strengthen and provide new opportunities for Lithuania and its people. Today, Ukraine fighting for the same right. We strongly support Ukraine's decision to join the EU."
Today my country is celebrating the 18th anniversary of membership in the .— Ingrida Šimonytė (@IngridaSimonyte) May 1, 2022
We knew - that was a goal that would strengthen the state & provide new opportunities for & its people.
Today is fighting for the same right. We strongly support decision to join the EU. pic.twitter.com/biofryT5Ja
Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia also all joined the EU on May 1 2004, the largest single round of enlargement the union and its forebears had seen since its inception.
Three states have since joined: Bulgaria, Romania (2007) and Croatia (2013).
Editor: Andrew Whyte