“2022 will be remembered as the year when everything changed”, Kallas pointed out, as according to her, there will always be the world “before” and the world “after” February 24, 2022, when Russia launched its full-scale genocidal war against Ukraine.
“What we are defending in Ukraine is the very idea of freedom, territorial integrity, and sovereignty – that is, the right to exist as a country and the right to live free from repressions,” Kallas firmly explained.
Building investors’ trust starts from the legal system
The rights of individuals and the rule of law were placed at the centre of governance in Estonia when it regained its independence, meaning rooting out corruption and building up solid democratic institutions and safeguarding individual rights. “We understood from the beginning that the rule of law helps to build prosperity since it is also an economic issue – if the investors trust your legal system, they are not afraid to invest in your economy,” Kallas explained.
“Estonia decided back in the 90s that we would be Never Alone Again – never again without friends and allies,” Kallas said. Estonia has been a member of NATO for nearly two decades. “Being part of the most successful defensive alliance in world history ensures a secure environment – also to do business, to live, and to visit. We also welcome Sweden and Finland to NATO with open arms,” she emphasized that this would increase the strength and prosperity of the whole region.
Kallas was optimistic about the future, as we can already see the rapid decline in inflation. She also reminded us that economic relations could never return to „business as usual“. “However, the acute shock of the recent past will fade, and a revived EU economy will again raise the welfare of our citizens. I believe good always triumphs over evil – for this to happen, we must also carry a cost and take risks. Beating evil demands long-term effort from each and every one of us.”
Deepening the cooperation within the Nordic-Baltic region
Kallas fully agreed with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, who has called the Nordic-Baltic region “an obvious platform” for cooperation in the EU.
Kallas pointed out several examples of the close cooperation between the two countries. Last year, Estonia and Sweden released the Swedish-Estonian visionary report and agreed on how to work more closely in the fields of climate change, digitalization, energy policy, and sustainable forestry. In August 2022, the Baltic Sea countries signed the Marienborg Declaration and set ambitious regional energy security targets, including increasing offshore wind capacity seven times by 2030. The Baltic Offshore Grid Initiative will bring opportunities for people and businesses across the region.
Digital transformation as the fuel for growth
Kallas gave an example of how forward-thinking businesses can thrive in the face of global challenges: “In Estonia, a Hydrogen Valley is emerging where companies are building products at the forefront of energy innovation. I fully believe that if you put Swedish and Estonian companies together, you can generate new, green, and ground-breaking solutions.” Both Estonia and Sweden have become testbeds for new ideas and digital innovation.
She also stressed that if governments want to keep closely connected to their people, they must be where the people are – online. “Let us become the most renowned region for digital societies – for example, by setting in place cross-border e-prescriptions for our citizens, being the most secure region also in terms of cyber resilience, or establishing a New Nordic Deep Tech Valley including AI,” Kallas ended on a positive and constructive note.
Di Världen 2023 annual conference gathered several other speakers who are passionate about their topics. The 2023 speakers included Jan Eliasson, Rebecka Carlsson, Olof Lundh, Håkan Buskhe, and Alasdair Ross.
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