Current obstacles must be viewed as challenges

Source: President of Estonia

President Alar Karis welcomed the participants of Latitude59 international technology conference, noting that current obstacles must be viewed as challenges. “I know you see opportunities where others see risks,” said the head of state in his address to the representatives of the IT sector and start-ups.
“We should look for ways of using knowledge of digital technologies to solve the current acute crisis, how our technologies can enhance the defence of Europe, or optimise energy consumption and production,” President Karis outlined the tasks ahead. For instance, we should explore how to use technology to reduce our dependence on foreign commodities.
“Estonia is a small country, but the start-up sector is making us bigger. This is our opportunity and I believe we have done it well,” said President Karis. He added that due to the scarcity of talent, start-ups have the opportunity to involve people from all over the world. The head of state also expressed hope that there would always be a shortage of labour in the tech sector in a good sense, as the lack of highly educated professionals should motivate today’s graduates to study and develop themselves in order to become successful in their lives.
According to the Estonian president, the IT and start-up sector have contributed around a quarter of the economic progress of the last five years in Estonia, even though its share in the economy was just over 5% five years ago. President Karis noted that as the share of the digital sector grows, the average company and job are starting to look increasingly more like a job in the IT industry. The sector challenges cemented thinking, disrupts old business models and introduces innovation where it seems impossible.
The head of state also emphasised the wider socio-economic impact of the start-up sector. “The start-up mindset and digitalisation could benefit many fields of society,” noted President Karis. He observed that besides putting Estonia on the global map, the expansion of the tech sector has transformed Tallinn and many other Estonian cities in the previous ten years. “We have seen the development of former industrial areas into nice neighbourhoods, we see people from all around the world living and working here,” said President Karis. “High-tech companies that attract professionals have made Estonia more open and increased the value of education in the business economy.”
Looking back on the pandemic period, the head of state remarked that the digital economy is rearranging many fields. President Karis also noted that the choices of the education system were expanded and remote work became a standard in many companies after digital solutions had proven to be reliable and convenient during the Covid period.

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MIL OSI Poland – 19.05.2022Pricing of EUR bond – additional information

Source: Republic of Poland in English

Pricing of EUR bond – additional information19.05.2022

With reference to the press release on the pricing of 10-year EUR denominated benchmark bond maturing on May 25, 2032, which was conducted on May 18, 2022, the Ministry of Finance presents additional information concerning the structure of investors.
The structure of buyers was well diversified. The bonds were allocated to investors from: Germany and Austria (35%), United Kingdom and Ireland (19%), Poland (14%), Switzerland (6%), Benelux (6%), Italy (6%), Nordics (5%), France (4%) and others (5%).
In terms of investor type the buyers group included: asset managers (44%), banks (25%), insurance and pension companies (15%) central banks and public institutions (14%), as well as other entities (2%).

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MIL OSI Poland – 18.05.2022Pricing of EUR bond

Source: Republic of Poland in English

Pricing of EUR bond18.05.2022

The Ministry of Finance priced on May 18, 2022 a 10-year EUR denominated benchmark bond maturing on May 25, 2032. The nominal amount of the issue was EUR 2bn. The orderbook exceeded EUR 4bn.
The bond was priced at the level of 110 basis points over mid-swap rate, yielding 2.85% with annual coupon of 2.75%.
The issue was executed under Republic of Poland’s Euro Medium Term Note (EMTN) Programme. The lead managers on the transaction were: Santander, Citi, Commerzbank, ING, JP Morgan and PKO BP.

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Only passivity and fear in the West can help Russia to win the war in Ukraine

Source: President of Estonia

“Only passivity and fear can help Russia to win this war. Both passivity and fear inside Russia, and in the West. People in European countries understand the situation well, and are ready to support Ukraine. This now needs to be matched by the bravery of decision-makers. The Ukrainian people are setting a powerful example: freedom is not free,” President Alar Karis stressed in his speech at the official dinner of the international Lennart Meri Security Conference.
President Karis emphasised the need to overcome the fear of provoking Russia with our actions. “Indeed, it is the contrary – firm action is the only brand of deterrence that will work. I would argue that we still haven’t fully come to grips with what Russian invasion means for the European security order. The previous strategies of forging economic ties, trade relationships hasn’t worked. Containment hasn’t worked. It is time for something bolder,” said President Karis. President Karis also highlighted the need to significantly bolster NATO’s deterrence posture on the eastern flank of the alliance.
“I am heartened by the five sanctions packages by the EU, but we must get to banning Russian oil. Estonia has sent military equipment in the sum that amounts to one third of our yearly defence budget. And just last week the government approved another round of howitzers and ammunition to be sent. I invite all my NATO and EU friends to try to beat us,” said President Karis.
The Estonian head of state noted that President Putin has been successful in deterring the West for too long and it is time to turn the tables. “Mr Putin’s expansionist dream to create the great Novorossiya cannot prevail,” said President Karis. How long can we keep asking: who’s next? We must put an end to this,” he added.
President’s speech (in English)
Photos (Raigo Pajula)
 

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MIL OSI Poland – 16.05.2022 Information on transactions held by Ministry of Finance on the financial market in 2021

Source: Republic of Poland in English

Information on transactions held by Ministry of Finance on the financial market in 202116.05.2022

The Ministry of Finance informs that in 2021 following transactions were concluded on the financial market:
Interest Rate Swap Transactions (IRS) in domestic currency,
Cross Currency Swap (CIRS),
Exchange of foreign currency.
Interest rate swap transactions had maturity up to 1 year and total notional amounted to PLN 92.0 bn. The aim of these transactions was to distribute debt servicing costs over the time within the years 2021-2022. As a result of concluded transactions debt servicing costs in 2021 has risen and in 2022 has decreased by PLN 3.34 bn. Conclusion of transaction did not expose Ministry of Finance to market risk. The Supreme Chamber of Control did not raise any objections referring to the rationale and effectiveness of these operations. Settlement of transactions was undertaken according to Eurostat’s guidelines and methodology. Information about transactions were included in the fiscal notification for 2021 delivered to the European Commission.
In 2021 the Ministry of Finance concluded cross currency swaps with 3yrs maturity. As a result of the conducted cross currency swaps the Ministry of Finance exchanged CNH 3.0 bn for EUR 0.4 bn. During life of transaction the Ministry of Finance will receive annually fixed interest in CNH and will receive fixed interest in EUR as well. These contracts were included in the fiscal notification for 2021 which was reported to the European Commission. In accordance with the Council of Europe legal act cross currency swaps change the currency structure of debt and therefore are accounted for in the calculations of the general government debt level. The Supreme Chamber of Control did not raise any objections referring to the rationale and effectiveness of these operations.
In 2021, as in previous years, Ministry of Finance exchanged foreign currencies on the financial market and in the central bank. Total exchange on the financial markets amounted to equivalent of EUR 3.59 bn. The Supreme Chamber of Control did not raise any objections connected with the rationale and effectiveness of these operations.

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MIL OSI Poland – 16.05.2022 Information on foreign debt in April 2022

Source: Republic of Poland in English

Information on foreign debt in April 202216.05.2022

Ministry of Finance is pleased to announce that the following payments in foreign currencies were made for service of foreign debt in April 2022:
principal – equivalent of EUR 32.3 m (PLN 150.1 m),
interest – equivalent of EUR 14.4 m (PLN 66.9 m).
As of the end of April 2022 foreign currency funds on budgetary accounts were equivalent of EUR 3 877.3 m (PLN 18 061.3 m).

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MIL-OSI Poland News: Speech by the President at the Lennart Meri Conference

Source: President of Poland in English

Mister Presidents, 
Madam Prime Minister, 
Distinguished Panelists, 
Ladies and gentlemen, 
Dear friends!

I would like to thank the organizers for inviting me to open this panel of the Fifteenth Lennart Meri Conference. I understand its main topic is the role of multilateral organizations, the OSCE in particular, in ensuring peace and security. Certain interpretation of the title could suggest that the organization, after 50 years of activity, should leave the international stage. Should simply roll over and make space for others to rock – if we are to stick to the metaphor used in the title.

However, experience teaches that certain rock ‘n’ roll bands, particularly those from Europe, can display amazing vitality and popularity even after half a century in show–business. As the old proverb says: a rolling stone gathers no moss. And history teaches that there are simply no alternatives to international organizations older than the OSCE, like the UN, NATO or the European ones. In spite of what the proponents of the Warsaw Pact or the Eurasian Union believed.

Poland, the current OSCE’s chair, believes that there’s just no time to die, neither for OSCE, nor for the UN, NATO or the EU. But we recognize that maintaining or increasing their vitality and popularity requires – just as in a rock band – commitment from all the members. Commitment to their purposes, principles and aims. And the resulting responsible, constructive efforts to accomplish their goals, in accordance with their founding documents, be it the Charter of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty, the OSCE key documents or the EU treaties.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The said organizations should help ensure peace and security, including in Eastern Europe. Poland will continue to strive towards this end. We will continue to call on others to do the same. We will also encourage relevant adaptation to raise the effectiveness of our joint actions.

We should act within the UN. I am pleased that Poland enjoyed excellent cooperation with Estonia at the Security Council, whose reform we support. At the UN we need to cooperate with all partners, including the incoming members of its various bodies. For instance,  Poland looks forward to working closely with the Czech Republic at the Human Rights Council where it has recently replaced the Russian Federation. We look forward to cooperating with a partner who respects its own human rights obligations. Instead of a state displaying total contempt for human rights both domestically and abroad – which is one of the key features of the “russkij mir” Russia tries to spread or impose on others. 

We should continue to work towards upholding international law. Including the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states. Non–interference in the internal affairs of other states. Peaceful settlement of international disputes.

We need to step up efforts aimed at ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law. Support for investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the most serious crimes. Acountability for the crime of aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. That is why Poland supports Ukraine and the International Criminal Court in investigating Russian crimes in Ukraine.

Ladies and gentlemen,  

We should act at NATO. Poland will continue to work closely with partners, including from the Alliance’s „Bucharest Nine”, to strengthen the transatlantic cooperation and NATO’s security, defense and deterrence. In particular in its eastern flank, due to the fundamental change of the security and military situation in Ukraine, but also in Belarus.

We need to continue our efforts to that end in the run–up to NATO’s Madrid summit in June. But also beyond. Including by reinforcing the capabilities and readiness of our troops. Their additional deployments, training and exercises. And keeping NATO’s door open to all those who are willing and able to join.  

Ladies and gentlemen, 

All participating States should act at the OSCE. With the understanding that the very foundations of security and stability in Europe, and beyond, have been shaken by the Russian aggression on Ukraine, which Belarus has supported. Russia has volated all the fundamental rules of the Helsinki Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe Final Act of 1975, the Charter of Paris for a New Europe of 1990, the Istanbul Document of 1999, and the Astana Commemorative Declaration Towards a Security Community of 2010. This marks the end of the European security system built after the Cold War as we knew it.

We must adapt and adjust to the new situation. It holds true also for the OSCE. It is the only institutional platform for discussion on European security with the participation of Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union. 

That is why Poland’s presidency will continue to do its best to keep the armed aggression on Ukraine on top of the organization’s agenda. In spite of Russia’s effort to achieve the opposite, as its actions regarding the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine have clearly demonstrated. We need to exert political and diplomatic pressure on Russia, counteract its propaganda and help document its crimes.

Unfortunately, its repeated rejection of the West’s offer to build a common security architecture was misinterpreted by many for a long time. For years they believed in the possibility of some kind of the partnership. They hoped that by developing joint projects with Russia (such as Nord Stream 1 and 2), co–operation and change in its behavior could be achieved. Today we know that these were naive illusions at best. Illusions that have had the most serious consequences, including for Ukraine.

Russian activity, also at the OSCE, proved for years that Russia was never interested in cooperation with the West, but in undermining it. Its constant obstruction, be it with regard to the modernization of the Vienna Document, or the discussion on conventional armed forces in Europe, are just two pieces of evidence.

Ladies and gentlemen,

All Member States need to act in the EU. Recognizing that we might be looking ahead to many months of struggle and sacrifice. That is why Poland continues to call for a policy of pressure on Russia and solidarity with Ukraine. No matter how long and hard the road may be. With the EU at the forefront of this effort. Shoulder to shoulder with partners from across the Atlantic and from other parts of the world. It should include providing adequate resources both to Ukraine and to Ukrainian refugees who found safe home in other countries. 

That is why Poland and Sweden have recently organized in Warsaw an International Donors’ Conference for Ukraine. That is why we continue to call for the much–needed current support and for thinking about ways to rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure destroyed by Russia. Why we also call for maintaining European perspective for Ukraine, but also Moldova, Georgia and other states outside the EU willing and able to join it.

That is why we repeat that after Russia stops the attacks there should be no return to business as usual with Moscow. No matter how much it may cost some of us. Russians must be immediately and entirely cut off from profiting from the aggressive war they waged on Ukraine. And those complicit need to face all consequences of their acts, including compensation for the damage they caused.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends

I have been informed that the Lennart Meri Conference was conceived in 2007 to provide a forum for finding solutions to Europe’s foreign and security policy challenges. I am sure that the insights shared by the distinguished speakers of its current edition will contribute to their identification. Also with regard to multilateral organizations, including the OSCE. 

The panel’s title inspired me to include rock music references in my introduction. Let me also finish with one. The king of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis Presley, famously called for “a little less conversation, a little more action”. But I think we need both, so I wish and hope for interesting conversations here in Tallinn that will inform actions also elsewhere. I thank again the organizers for the invitation. And all participants – for your kind attention.

Thank you very much, and have a good time, and efficient time in Tallinn.

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the government cannot lead the country without cooperation and trust

Source: President of Estonia

Today, President Alar Karis spoke to the heads of the coalition parties for Kaja Kallas, Chairman of the Reform Party, and Jüri Ratas, Chairman of the Centre Party, to directly give their assessment on the disagreements in the government that recently became public and on whether they could lead to a governmental crisis and the collapse of the current coalition.
“One of the roles and responsibilities of both political parties in the coalition is to maintain the capacity for cooperation and mutual trust in the coalition they themselves formed,” said President Karis. “If cooperation is replaced by ultimatums, joint governance turns into a war of words and trust goes up in flames, there is no use for the coalition government to work together. Because a country cannot be lead without cooperation and trust.”
He says the current government parties have to come to a decision within each party and, if possible, together on whether or not the current coalition can actually continue.
“We cannot afford frivolity and short-sightedness in the middle of so many crises – from international security to energy issues and the pandemic – by Estonia only having the illusion of a government because it has become trapped in an internal trench warfare,” said President Karis. “The government must be hard-working and active.”

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Finland’s accession to NATO would significantly strengthen security in the Baltic Sea region

Source: President of Estonia

President Alar Karis said at a meeting with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Helsinki today that Estonia supports the possible accession of both Finland and Sweden to NATO, as it would significantly strengthen the security of the Baltic Sea region.
“The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO would make an important contribution to the security of the Baltic Sea region,” said President Karis. “It would have a major impact on the Nordic-Baltic defence cooperation and on how NATO operates in our region.”
According to President Karis, Russia would not have the resources to demonstrate significant military force in our region in response to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership, but he considered cyber or hybrid operations possible. “Estonia stands by Finland and will provide support both politically and practically,” said President Karis.
Speaking about the security situation in Europe, President Karis said that the end of the war with Ukraine’s victory is a priority, as well as the energy independence and security of European countries. “At present, it’s important to support Ukraine and to continue to put pressure on Russia through sanctions,” said Karis. “The economic sanctions agreed on in the European Union cannot be eased until the war damages are compensated.”
The Heads of State emphasised the need to deepen regional cooperation in order to achieve energy independence. “The cooperation between Estonia and Finland in the construction of a floating LNG terminal is a significant step in this direction,” said President Karis. “We must also be smart about deepening regional renewable energy cooperation.”
In his address at the 40th anniversary seminar of the Tuglas Society, which preceded the meeting of the Heads of State, President Karis said that the relations and destinies of Estonia and Finland are closely intertwined. “Finland has a million friends south of the Gulf,” the Head of State said. “Estonia as a state were able to join Finland in the United Nations 31 years ago when we regained our independence. In the European Union, our paths crossed 18 years ago. We’ve been good partners to each other in these organisations. It’s now possible that Finland will join Estonia in NATO, which will also connect the security of our countries and nations.”
President Karis advised people to look to the future with courage and an innovative spirit, so that in the coming decades there would be a reason to come together and enjoy the broad cultural cooperation between the two nations and countries, and to set future goals.
President Karis also visited the Finnish innovation foundation SITRA in Helsinki and met with the representatives of Finnish academic organisations.
Address of President Karis at the 40th anniversary of the Tuglas Society.
 

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