Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) made it a point to stress the positive in both his anniversary greeting as well as his meeting with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda. While the latter emphasized the good relationship of the two countries, and a shared understanding of the "value of freedom," the prime minister's more personal greeting to the Estonian people ran the gamut of things to be happy about.
"We are proud of Estonia's beautiful nature, of our song and dance festivals. We value our clean food and euphonious language. We appreciate the freedom of thought and speech along with a chance to travel the world," Ratas said in his short address on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Estonia's regaining its independence from the Soviet Union.
Still, there are things still to improve: "At the same time, we are worried about poverty in old age, fighting for no reason, and a lack of cohesion in our society," the prime minister added.
Alluding to the events of Aug. 20, 1991, Ratas said that the 69 delegates of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR that voted in favor of independence "looked boldly and brightly into the future, hoping that Estonia would grow to be a country where everyone, everywhere, is doing well."
Lithuania and Estonia understand value of freedom, says Ratas
Ratas met with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda on Aug. 20 as well. "Twenty-eight years ago today we got on our way together with our friends from Lithuania and Latvia towards democracy and integration with Europe," Ratas said after the meeting according to a government press release. "Now we can look into the future together as proven states that understand the value of freedom. I'm glad that in this time, the relationship between Lithuania and Estonia has only become closer and warmer," he added.
Ratas and Nausėda discussed bilateral relations and international projects in their meeting, among them Estonia's upcoming term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a role Lithuania had in 2014 and 2015, matters of defense cooperation, and NATO and allied operations in the Baltic region.
Infrastructure projects came up as well, including the Baltic electricity grid and the Rail Baltica railway project, in which Lithuania remains one of the more difficult stakeholders, with internal disagreements still slowing down the project.
Gitanas Nausėda was elected on July 12 this year. The visit on Aug. 20 was his first to Estonia as president.
Editor: Dario Cavegn