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Presidents Ilves and Wałęsa discussed Europe


Democratic capitalism, where discussions are held before any decisions are adopted, has difficulties in competing with non-democratic countries where parliaments decide according to what they are being told, but being more measured is a specific feature of democracy, told the Estonian Head of State, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who had a discussion today with the former President of Poland, Lech Wałęsa, on "More or Less of Europe", within the framework of the counsel day, Kärajad.

However, it is distressing of late to see how little Europe has been able to decide and how limited is the number of leaders of the ilk of Kohl and Mitterand, who took the responsibility for reuniting Europe and were bold, told President Ilves in the lecture hall of KUMU Art Museum.

We have seen this kind of boldness recently in Eastern Europe, as the countries here have had the political courage to introduce reforms and we have emerged successfully from the last recession; Poland has an special role and importance here, he said, emphasising: "Eastern Europe should speak up inside Europe."

When speaking about the security of Europe, Presidents Ilves and Wałęsa stated that several European Union Member States that are also NATO members are reducing their defence expenses.

Estonia and Poland are among the exceptions, and they urged the allies to increase their defence expenses, as the United States of America will not agree to pay for the security of Europe infinitely, told President Ilves.

He described the ageing and decreasing population of Europe as a major problem, reminding that we lack approximately half a million of engineers and information technology specialists in Europe. "Should we start bringing people in or start to learn real sciences more ourselves?" he asked, while disapproving of racist allegations towards possible immigrants.

When asked what new values could unite Europe, President Wałęsa mentioned solidarity as the most important characteristic. According to President Ilves, values should be restored; he gave the Maastricht criteria as an example.

Deputy Chancellor of Justice, Hent Kalmo, research specialist of Tartu University Maria Mälksoo and Sworn Advocate Carri Ginter also took the floor at the President's Consel, Kärajad.

Kärajad was initiated by President Ilves in 2007, and this year it is taking place as a joint effort of the President's Academic Advisory Board and CEED Institute, established by one of the most well-known Polish business tycoons, Jan Kulczyk. CEED Institute is a think-tank in Poland that serves the purpose of explaining ideas and projects on enhancing regional efficiency and competitiveness to the public of Central and Eastern European countries.

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