Estonia and Sweden, the Swedes and the Estonians are two nations who have often followed the same path. We have helped and supported each other, offered each other safe havens, fought for each other on the battlefield, taught and shared experiences. These long-term relationships have become commonplace today and affect all areas of our joint activity, based on the same values and a similar perception and understanding of the world. We are together in the European Union, our security environment is one whole. At the heart of our value space is the human being with his/hers joys and sorrows. These pillars are a strong foundation for the future.
Many Estonians have lived and are living in Sweden, there are several areas in Estonia that have been inhabited by Swedes. Every Estonian student knows that the University of Tartu, historically the second university in the Kingdom of Sweden, was founded in 1632 at the initiative of King Gustav Adolf. The University of Tartu has been offering higher education in Estonian already for 100 years, which has made Estonians one of the smallest people in the world who can afford higher education in their mother tongue. We are grateful to the Swedish people, who gave shelter to our compatriots during and after World War II, who accepted them and gave them the opportunity to develop Estonianness in Sweden. We remember the help and advice that Sweden offered 30 years ago to re-independent Estonia in implementing transformation and social reforms.
Estonia wants to maintain and advance this partnership. What is important for us is our common view of the future of the Baltic Sea as a whole, of Europe more broadly and of the democratic world in all its manifestations. We want the living environment in the Baltic Sea region to be safe, but also clean and rich in biodiversity. Our eyes are on Swedish companies, Swedish innovation, Swedish universities and research and development, and we would like cooperation and collaboration to become even more active, even more productive. The desire of Swedish society for equality and respect for and protection of human rights, both at home and in the world, is an example to us. For our part, we hope that Estonia’s progress in the digital world and in securing cyberspace will be of interest and will also be followed by the Swedes. Even more attention must be paid to human relations so that Swedes know more Estonians and that Estonians have more friends and acquaintances among Swedes. The Baltic Sea does not separate us, it unites us.
All this is not so little for the future. Let’s shake hands and move on.