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"In 140 Characters (#i140c): Toomas Hendrik Ilves", Berlin Policy Journal, July/August 2015


Josh Raisher

The Estonian president on austerity and difficult neighbors.

Berlin Policy Journal: @ilvestoomas What's the most important skill that you brought to your office from a previous job?

@berlinpolicy Through Columbia College's Contemporary Civ and Humanities core courses I came to understand the Enlightenment basis of a liberal democratic society.

@ilvestoomas What's the biggest obstacle for you at work?

@berlinpolicy Very early flights.

@ilvestoomas You've done a lot of work with soft power tools. Can soft power be effective against Russia?

@berlinpolicy Genuine soft power is not against but for something. Free flow of ideas, peace and development are much cheaper than war. Fake soft power can be bribery.

@ilvestoomas What's your biggest concern that doesn't start with "R"?

@berlinpolicy The cold Estonian summer, slow progress in the European digital single market, cyber-security.

@ilvestoomas What do you do at lunchtime?

@berlinpolicy Work

@ilvestoomas How do you relax at the end of the day?

@berlinpolicy Reading

@ilvestoomas You made a splash internationally for slapping down @PaulKrugmanBlog criticism of Estonia's austerity policies. Who's been proven right?

@berlinpolicy It's old news. Greetings to @PaulKrugmanBlog

@ilvestoomas How competitive is Estonia today?

@berlinpolicy E-stonia makes us a great place to do business. The @worldbank ranks Estonia 22nd in its Doing Business report (covers 189 countries). Low corruption also helps.

@ilvestoomas What could the rest of Europe learn from Estonia – about economics and dealing with economists?

@berlinpolicy Avoid unnecessary debt. Shrink government to stop recession. And be quick about it.

@ilvestoomas How would you sell austerity to Greece?

@berlinpolicy Austerity is not for sale. Indeed, austerity is not a policy, responsible governance is.

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