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President Kersti Kaljulaid on the occasion of the official visit of the Royal Highnesses, Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit to the Republic of Estonia 25 April 2018

Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Hjertelig velkommen til Tallinn.

Your visit takes place in an important year as we are celebrating the centenary of Estonian independence. This would not be possible without our good friends and allies like Norway.

Defending freedom is a core value for both Norwegians and Estonians – freedom of our nations, but also our individual freedoms.

Both of our countries know what it means to lose your independence and to regain it. We also know that we need to protect the freedom of our friends with similar values. I am thinking about the Estonian volunteers that came to defend Norway in 1940. They sang both Norwegian and Estonian National anthems while swearing their oaths in Alta church. It was in Narvik, where the first Estonian lost his life in the Second World War. Only a few months later Estonia lost its independence.

Norway never recognised the illegal annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union. You allowed Estonian honorary consuls in Oslo and Trondheim to continue their work. You also did let us to declare the Estonian government in exile in 1953 in Oslo when such political activity was not allowed in many other countries. We are grateful for your support at these difficult times.

In early nineties, me and my friends went to see these historic places for our military history. The wonderful Alta canion offered us much more than lessons of history. It offered beautiful nature, wonderful views and many mushrooms and berries, by the way. However, Alta was also a site of civic debate about the environment, preservation of the nature versus renewable energy production.


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