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Kaljulaid: Ideals defining factor in attitude towards EU, not money

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: (ERR)

President Kersti Kaljulaid held a speech at the State of the Union Conference of the European University Institute in Florence on Friday. In it, the president introduced Estonia’s priorities for its six months of presiding over the Council of the European Union.

The conference’s topic was the future of the European Union. In her speech, Kaljulaid stressed that the EU had proved its strengths just in those times where common values and interests had been under threat.

There were forces both internal and external threatening to pull the EU apart, the president said. Still, the EU typically developed through crises and conflict, and hence the EU was much more resilient than anyone gave it credit for. “The EU always has a way of muddling through even if the solutions reached are often neither ideal nor elegant. But they are sufficient. It is simple common sense, even if common sense is not in the treaty. But neither is muddling through. They should be, in my humble opinion,” Kaljulaid added.

The president also made the point that the union’s financial contribution to a country was not what made it attractive, or popular. “People in Estonia look at our union with trust, because all Estonian governments have said that they can. This message is even more important than EU support schemes,” Kaljulaid said, adding that among countries receiving large-scale support still differed substantially in their appreciation of the union.

“As we know, countries that receive equal and high levels of EU support can differ in their public analysis of the union. Therefore, money is not defining the attitudes of people, ideals are,” the president insisted.

You can read President Kaljulaid's full speech here.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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