With the arrival of 2018, Estonia's centennial begins. The jubilee year was inaugurated with a concert on Tallinn's Freedom Square, where President Kersti Kaljulaid also gave a speech.
One thing that defined the beginning of the state's second century is speed, the president said, pointing to this year's Youth Song and Dance Celebration as an example. After circumstances had made the dancers' procession from Freedom Square to Kadriorg impossible, within a very short time they had instead organized a spontaneous dance celebration right where they had been waiting to get going.
Kaljulaid said that the city's officials reacted very quickly to support the dancers, which according to her hints at the state's changed role in a time where individual contributions to society may come spontaneously, and from any kind of place or direction.
In Estonia's society at the beginning of its second century, the state's institutions are no longer trailblazers paving the way for change as much as they are supporters of the action taken by society's individual members, the president said.
More and more often it happened that people came together to answer someone's call, or someone's call for help, and took care of something close to their hearts. What moved people these days doesn't always require planning and someone taking charge, the president opined.
Going back to the idea of a so-called seamless society, a recurring image in the president's speeches, Kaljulaid also said that a country built on the contribution of the individual and supported by Estonia's institutions will result in a state that the taxpayers are happy to contribute to.
The president thanked all those who gave their own time, energy, and money to causes that mattered to them, and also those who helped to shed light on the other side of life, including those who went through a hurtful experience once again to bring a bad thing out in the open, and help those who followed and find themselves in a similar situation.
A better society is only possible if everyone is straightforward about their worries. At 100, the Estonian society still needed to work on its health, Kaljulaid pointed out.
The president also looked back on 2017, Estonia's presidency of the Council of the European Union, and the arrival of a new NATO battalion in the country. 2017 had shown the country its responsibility in the international arena, the president said, but also that there were partners who are ready to help.
Estonia helped NATO to do its work, the same that it has done for seven decades: defending peace. "NATO is never a danger to anyone, including the countries that try to paint it as a threat," Kaljulaid said.
The president finished saying that though there is no way to predict what people will be saying on the eve of Estonia's 200th anniversary, any guess would have to include the country's young, and couldn't be limited to the ideas to those currently making the decisions. Kaljulaid asked Estonia's young people to be open about their thoughts and plans, and to let Estonia know about them.
Editor: Dario Cavegn