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"PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW — KERSTI KALJULAID, PRESIDENT OF ESTONIA … ", Politico

03.07.2017

Estonia’s new president isn’t short of energy or opinions, and that made her a star of the Women’s Forum in Rome.

Brexit and Brussels blame game: It is easy for national politicians to “blame Brussels” for challenges beyond its control, or which are their own responsibility, Kaljulaid said. But pointing to Britain, she warned: “You can blame your country out of the EU.”

On going digital: Kaljulaid said few would have expected Estonia to be a European digital leader when the EU first engaged the country 25 years ago. Her point: Other countries, including Ukraine, could be the next Estonia. While Kaljulaid is happy for Estonia to set an example, she is relieved people no longer ask her to fix their computers (as they used when hearing she was Estonian) and cautions against one-size-fits-all approaches. “We don’t want to preach. Every country has their own culture. Everyone needs to do it their own way.” Read this speech as a summary of her views on the digital state.

On the EU ‘straightjacket’: Kaljulaid doesn’t have much sympathy for those who complain about a supposed EU straightjacket, arguing countries from Germany to Estonia, with very different starting points and experiences, have managed major reforms regardless.

Kaljulaid later said during a panel that the digital revolution will be good for women. “Digital makes a lot of jobs geographically neutral. Every woman serving porridge to her children in the morning can and does check her email as she does it. Often she goes to a job that does not require her to be physically present … We have to grasp these technologies as an equalizer.”

Original article on politico.eu.