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President Kaljulaid in Paris: the EU holds a number of competitive advantages by which to succeed in the future

 President Kaljulaid in Paris: the EU holds a number of competitive advantages by which to succeed in the future © Office of the President

23.01.2019

The ability of the European Union to enter into major political agreements faster than other regions gives it a competitive edge in both reversing climate change and digitalising societies, said President Kersti Kaljulaid today in Paris to top leaders studying at ÉNA (École Nationale d'Administration), France. The Estonian Head of State is this year’s patron of ÉNA’s annual in-service training for higher European officials.

“Switching to clean is not a personal or national but rather an EU wide effort! Imagine if we spent about 200 billion euro a year in Europe on developing green energy and long distance interconnections,” said President Kaljulaid and added that no one else could agree so quickly to do so. According to the President, this would give us a huge competitive advantage: “Selling the solutions we find while changing to green energy will also guarantee economic success in the long term.”

In the future, society will be free from menial and mundane technical tasks. But it will need special education in being a compassionate human being – a skill in which humans excel and cannot be replaced by any machine-learning tool, said President Kaljulaid. Compared to all the other rich regions globally, Europe is specialised in human compassion. It is built on human compassion, added the Head of State.

“We see our middle classes rise up due to a lack of compassion in our society. Yes, they are not starving and they have a wide social services network to provide for their basic wellbeing. However, they feel unhappy because they have not been listened to, valued enough or given consideration in the speeches of politicians,” said President Kaljulaid.

It's important for us as a society to make good education and healthcare widely available to all in society, notwithstanding their social status, said the Head of State and added: “We have a demand from our citizens to provide more compassion. Compassion, not new gadgets.”

According to President Kaljulaid, we carry numerous advantages created by the EU to succeed in preparing our societies for technological changes; we have also founded a Europe that may save the planet. “Decision-making in the EU can be a painful process, but again – our union normally manages in the face of any urgency. There is urgency, believe me,” added the Head of State.

Full text of the speech by President Kaljulaid is available here: https://www.president.ee/en/official-duties/speeches/14807-competitive-advantages-of-the-eu-how-to-use-them-for-managing-the-21st-century/index.html

The Estonian Head of State is this year’s patron of ÉNA’s annual in-service training for higher European officials. In recent years, the patrons of the training have been the EU’s Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, the first President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the former President of France, Valery Giscard d’Estaing. Today, the Head of State will meet with the new Secretary General of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Louise Mushikiwabo, to discuss, above all, plans for drafting a digital strategy for the organisation and Estonia’s opportunities for sharing its experiences.

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