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President Ilves: Europe needs courageous leaders


Europe needs courageous leaders who have the courage to take responsibility in overcoming the crises that we face today and in leading with purpose – to propel Europe and their own countries forward – without paying too much attention to the most recent opinion poll, said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves in the address he gave at the international Lennart Meri Conference.

Leadership is not determining how decisions and decision-making are weighed against public opinion – this is an exercise in holding onto your seat, emphasised the Estonian Head of State.

Those who care for a liberal, democratic Europe and the safe future of our Europe must work together whether they belong to a coalition or opposition, said President Ilves, who also said that this would represent an efficient preventative measure against extremist parties who contribute to the populist approach to the refugee and economic crises.

President Ilves, who is among the initiators of reputable Lennart Meri Conference and a patron of the event, admitted: Europe has changed a lot over the last decade and the security situation that surrounds us today is very much different from what we had back then.

However, the Western world must not simply accommodate and accept the new reality around us, he warned.

"A system based on the rule of law means that we won't allow those who have violated these rules to decide what the new rules will be," said the Estonian Head of State, in referring to the 2014 aggression of Russia in Ukraine.

Office of the President
Public Relations Department