Search in Speeches:
printer friendly document

The President of the Republic at the Festive Dinner in Honour of Guido de Marco, the President of the Republic of Malta, and Mrs. Violet de Marco on May 2, 2001

Dear Professor Guido de Marco, President of the Republic of Malta,
Dear Mrs. Violet de Marco,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am glad to welcome the presidential couple of Malta on their state visit to the Republic of Estonia. This is the first visit paid to Estonia by the President of Malta.

We are situated in different regions of Europe. Yet we have many common traits that create a favourable basis for good mutual understanding. Malta is an island and Estonia is a peninsula.

Geopolitically, we are open to the world, but as small nations, we are also very vulnerable. For centuries, we have received influences from north and south, east and west, and we have shaped our cultures with the help and by dint of those influences, and remained true to ourselves.

In one of my books, a quarter of a century ago, I wrote that living on a seashore has created a phenomenon that could be called a maritime culture. And here I would be glad to add a sentence that many of my fellow countrymen have heard from me already: a small state opening to the sea can in fact never be a small state. Our smallness is our greatness and our strength: as small countries, we are capable of swift decisions and daring solutions. This is the greatness of small countries.

Both Estonia and Malta, such as they are, try to shape the developments today. We are first and foremost interested in Europe's political and economic evolution into Europe. And here the key issue is to bury the legacy of the cold war and to ensure the security of Europe as a whole - which means the enlargement of the European Union. The powerful rise of new Europe must not be diluted by institutional bureaucracy and future prospects that remain obscure to our citizens.

Today we can observe disturbing tendencies in the enlargement process of the European Union. It seems that what I just mentioned is indeed taking place. It seems that the reunion of Europe is being reduced to deliberations on the export quota of carrots and potatoes. Of course, economic integration does have a prominent role in the EU, but the European Union is first and foremost the fulfilment of the Idea of a United Europe. It is an ideal that we must not and have no intention to exchange for potato-counting.

Malta in the south and Estonia in the north have the opportunity and the obligation to act as catalysts of the integration process. This is our historic mission in the creation of the 21st-century Europe. Of course, this process will never be completed, Europe will never be ''ready'' - this is the beauty and greatness of history.

The same can be said about the bilateral relations between Estonia and Malta.

During our Prime Minister's recent visit to Malta, several areas were mentioned where more fruitful co-operation would be possible in the future. The development of bilateral tourism and trade will of course receive political support also in the discussions held during this visit. Malta's experience in developing tourism could be useful also to Estonian officials and companies.

The rich history of both our countries, whose traces are tangible and visible throughout many centuries - is a ''coil'' to promote extensive and intensive relations. Estonia and Malta have been under the same crown and seen the cannons of Admiral Nelson, although they had different attitudes to Napoleon's ideas on Europe.

We have one more thing in common - Malta has devised its policy of the Mediterranean, and Estonia sees the Baltic Sea as the Mediterranean of the North, and thus as a tool for bringing goods, knowledge and culture closer together, thus producing security, the most precious treasure of our century.

Mr. President, I am glad to recall that in the recent past, our countries have pursued the same path in their actions. In 1991, at the time of the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Estonia, you as the Foreign Minister of your country rendered your active support to our aspirations towards freedom. Malta did not wait with its diplomatic recognition. Estonia remembers August 26, and highly appreciates your personal contribution to the recognition of the changing world and support to that changing world.

The changes in Estonia have been described today and will be described tomorrow, and you will be able to observe these changes also on your trip to Tartu, our academic capital.

When speaking of changes, I would like to point out that it is only through changes that a small country and a small nation can remain unchanged. Estonia succeeded to preserve her national identity unaltered through the nazi and soviet occupations. We have remained true to our principles and we also know how to be true to our friends. I hope that our affection and affinity towards Malta will also touch your soul, dear President. This affection stems from the fraternity between the two smallest countries of Europe.

Mr. President, dear Mrs. de Marco. On behalf of Estonia, on behalf of my spouse and myself, I wish you happiness and success in your work. Europe is now undergoing the first and maybe the most significant change of this century. You, Mr. President, will be able to support the renewal of Europe with your international authority, and we wish you every success.

Let me wish happiness and prosperity to the Republic of Malta.

And now let us raise our glasses to toast the President of the Republic of Malta and his spouse, and to honour the Republic of Malta.


back | archive of speeches | main page

© 2001 Office of the President of the Republic
Phone: +372 631 6202 | Fax: +372 631 6250 | sekretar@vpk.ee
Reden Kõned Speeches Statements Interviews