Jüri Ratas: I would like to hope that 2023 will prove a turning point

Jüri Ratas.
Jüri Ratas. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The period ahead of the Riigikogu election in early March should be used to compare and contrast possible future scenarios, in order to ascertain what sort of Estonia we want to live in, Riigikogu speaker Jüri Ratas (Center) said in his New Year greeting, which follows.

Dear people of Estonia! The passing years lead, but the future ones always bring something new. Taking quiet steps around the year's path, I wish to thank you, dear people of Estonia, for all you have done for your both your nearest and dearest and for complete strangers, over the past year. This has been an outstanding amount.

The world around us has transformed greatly over the years, while on the Republic of Estonia's 104th birthday, everything we hoped would never happen again in fact became a reality. 

The war in Ukraine, started by Russia, has destroyed much, but not in the most important way – with the hope and conduciveness around us. We must not let these die out due to war-weariness.

Let us also act this year towards the values ​​and goals which have always united us: Peace, a sense of security and a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren, here in Estonia, as well as in Europe and the wider world.

In the past year, we have had to make several tough decisions, and reassess the options we have had so far. We have had to test our strength in the health crisis, in the security crisis, the energy crisis, the economic crisis plus in the migration crisis, so much so that, unfortunately, we have not always been able to keep up. There has been a lot of uncertainty and fear for what will come tomorrow. The job of state representatives must be to reduce that, not to cultivate it further.

Let's use the time ahead of the Riigikogu elections to compare future scenarios, in order to find out the type of Estonia we want to live in. To do this, each one of us must discuss, argue, analyze, evaluate and observe. This is not always easy, but it is very necessary, since together we have to find a way to prevent obstacles that come our way from causing us to trip or stumble. We are in a situation where we cannot afford to make silly mistakes, bypass, or overlook solutions.

Let the goal of this new year be to find wisdom and consensus, to make our society stronger and more cohesive, so that we can bring enough support to those who feel the negative impact of these crises more and more and also, unfortunately, very painfully.

In the conditions of the soaring cost of living, people's daily lives have become more and more closely intertwined with the difficulties of coping, while electricity and firewood have suddenly become luxury goods. This has hurt not only the well-being of families, but also the competitiveness of companies. Along with record-breaking energy prices, prices are also increasing on store shelves, making inflation in Estonia the highest in the euro zone.

These are not sentences that any of us would have wanted to hear in 2022. These are also not the sentences we want to hear in this new year.

I understand that when we wish each other a happy new year, we are still not really sure if it will be a good year. But I would like to hope that we will make an effort and work as much as possible, so that 2023 can be a turning point. 

In this way we can look back on this year and think clearly - that from here on in, things got better for me, my family, my country and for the people as a whole. 

This year was the year peace started again in Ukraine, the artillery fell silent, and justice and light prevailed. The smaller defeated the larger. Humanity won.

Let's keep each other close, so that, despite the difficulties, there will be care and goodness in our homes.This will keep us going at all times. Let's notice and appreciate everything that is beautiful around us, because this actually comes to much more than the ugliness. Let's keep it that way!

I wish one and all a beautiful year, one full of good news! Long live Estonia!


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Kaupo Meiel

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