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The President of the Republic to the IV Congress of Country People Sakala Centre, May 26, 2001

I heartily welcome the IV Congress of Country People.

Estonian life is nowadays more and more shaped by educated farmers who possess both modern economic thinking and the ancient Estonian nous. In its blind rage against private property, the occupation tried to eliminate this part of our population. But the Republic of Estonia is back, and so are the farmers - those who have the courage and the responsibility.

On our way to Europe, new requirements bring new troubles. Estonian farmers could see their advantage in pure and environment-friendly food products. At the same time, it is important to see country people not only as farmers. More and more people living in the countryside are involved in tourism, hunting, or other kinds of enterprising. Here, the state can first of all help by improving the level of transport, communications, and infrastructure, and by educating people with the help of enterprising centres and local governments.

The quality of life in the Republic of Estonia is inseparable from the quality of our country life. Let your activities be an example to others, and present your wishes and proposals to the Government. Wealthy country life in a tidy Estonian village is a goal shared by all of us.

I wish the Congress of Country People efficient quests, and strong will to carry through your actions.

More power to your elbow!

Lennart Meri
Kadriorg, May 26, 2001


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