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The President of the Republic merited the Freedom Prize of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation

This morning, President Lennart Meri gave a presentation at the symposium New Balance of Power held at the University of St. Gallen, where the Max Schmidheiny Foundation awarded the President the Freedom Prize, the value of which is CHF 100,000. The Max Schmidheiny Foundation awarded the prize to Lennart Meri as a writer and intellectual who has expressed the expectations and fears of his countrymen in his literary and film-making activities with a poet's pen and has given a big contribution through that to the preservation of the national identity of Estonians during the period of Soviet occupation.

In his presentation ''The Role of Small Nations in the European Cultural Space'', the President spoke about small nations as creators of balance in Europe and about the wealth of Europe consisting in the multitude of peoples and states. According to the President, he supports the idea of a bicameral European parliament, in the lower chamber of which the states would have proportional representation and in the upper chamber equal representation. According to the President, such a structure would provide security to all European citizens that their wishes are taken into account as well. The President talked about the historical experience of Estonia and emphasised that the events preceding World War II, when principles were abandoned in the name of preservation of the balance, must not recur.

The President also described the current achievements of Estonia to the audience and his speech was very well received. The full text of the speech of the President can be read on the Internet at the address

Tomorrow the President of the Republic will award the 4th Class Order of Terra Mariana in Zurich to Walter Zapp, an inventor of Estonian origin. The head of the state will return to Estonia late tomorrow evening.

Read more:

Lob der Kleinstaaterei Neue Z├╝richer Zeitung 21. Mai 2001
Meri becomes star of Swiss symposium The Baltic Times (May 2001)

Press Service of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 19, 2001


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