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The President of the Republic participated in the work of the World Economic Forum's Ukraine Roundtable

President Rüütel today within the framework of his working visit to Ukraine took part in the work of a roundtable meeting organised by the World Economic Forum.

The Head of Estonian state participated in the dinner hosted by the President of Ukraine, Victor Jushchenko, in honour of high level guests of the summit. After that President Rüütel had a bilateral meeting with Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The plenary meeting of the Economic Forum addressed Ukraine's economic perspectives and possibilities to improve investment environment. It was noted that the interest and support of neighbours would help Ukraine to use better the historical opportunity for implementing difficult but necessary reforms. It was emphasised that Ukraine needs Europe, but Europe needs Ukraine. In connection with that topic, President Rüütel said: "International support to the cementation of democratic culture and to economic and political reforms in Ukraine is extremely important".

While handling the topic of the constitutional treaty of the European Union, it was concluded that although the European Union showed some signs of weariness, it should hold its values and to develop them further. In the words of the President of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Europe needs not only Eurovision song contest, but also visions of Europe contest.

According to President Rüütel it is necessary to deal with difficulties, but it is not justified to over dramatise the situation. "I would not say that the European Union is experiencing a crisis today. Through its history the European Union has survived several complicated situations, and it has been a natural part of development, and so is also the current situation. I am confident that the European Union will find solutions to its current problems and the internal development of the union continues as well as the further enlargement in future," the President of the Republic said.

In his speech at the plenary meeting, the Head of Estonian state said that it was in the interest of the whole of Europe that Ukraine oriented itself toward the European Union and NATO, and was politically and economically stable. President Rüütel added that also Estonia could facilitate the development of democracy and enhancement of wellbeing in Ukraine. "Sharing the experience of our political and economic reforms would be one of the most valuable contributions of Estonia. Having ourselves quite recently emerged from the status of a transition country, we clearly understand the importance of implementing reforms, and we know how much effort it requires," the President of the Republic said.

Recalling how Estonia had built up its economy and the state, President Rüütel said that each state should choose its own way, but nevertheless, on the basis of Estonian experience, some essential basic principles could be outlined: "Firstly - setting long-term goals and consistent policy of the government for achieving those goals; secondly - rapid macroeconomic stabilization; thirdly - fair and equal treatment of everyone concerned, which will be supported by the creation of an economic system that is as simple and transparent as possible; and finally - encouragement of people's initiative."

President Rüütel highlighted Estonia's tax system as a good example, as it motivates people to work, invest and declare taxes. "Undoubtedly, it is necessary to create trust in the state and its economy. In addition to a consistent government policy, also a strong financial system, guaranteeing of ownership rights, and fight against corruption facilitate the creation of credibility. A credible economic environment creates a favourable climate for long-term investments from home as well as from abroad," the President of the Republic said.

President Rüütel pointed out Estonia's experience in introducing modern technology. "Along with building and securing the foundations of market economy, it is wise to use the momentum to modernise the economy and society. In this process, Estonia gave a priority to the use of information and communication technology and e-governance. Now we would be glad to share these experiences with the Ukrainians," the President of the Republic said.

To-morrow, President Rüütel will have bilateral meetings with the President of Ukraine, Victor Jushchenko, and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Volodymyr Lytvyn. After that, the President of the Republic will return back to Estonia from his working visit to Ukraine.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 16, 2005

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