President of Estonia and Entrepreneur Margus Reinsalu Hosted Foreign VIPs

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More than 40 CEOs, honorary consuls, presidents and public intellectuals from all over the world gathered in Tallinn, Estonia to discuss the pressing questions of what Estonia should do next as a nation and how it could improve its chances for success in the global marketplace. The joint initiative called the Estonia's Friends International Meeting was organized together with Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia and Margus Reinsalu, an Estonian-born entrepreneur and Enterprise Estonia, the country's largest support institution for business and entrepreneurship.

President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the symposium.

All of these guests share a common concern for the future and well-being of Estonia but also the wish to contribute to the continuing fast development of the country that gave the world Skype and Playtech.

The three-day event organized for the friends of Estonia marked both the 19th anniversary of the restoration of Estonia's independence as well as the beginning of a new era in the local economy - leaving behind the economic crisis and joining the Eurozone - and brought together such globally renown figures as Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former president of Latvia, Horacio Pagani, the CEO of Pagani supercars, Ari Vatanen, a politician and former rally pilot, Indrek Laul, the owner of the Estonia Piano Factory, CEO of LexisNexis, Andrew Prozes and many more. All of these guests share a common concern for the future and well-being of Estonia but also the wish to contribute to the continuing fast development of the country that gave the world Skype and Playtech.

The meeting, which began with a symposium, entitled "Quo Vadis, Estonia?" (Where are You Going, Estonia?) was hosted by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the former Latvian president and Mart Laar, the former prime minister of Estonia and a laureate of the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty also took part in the discussion. The topics addressed at the symposium ranged from discussing how Estonia could become a more open society and defend its democratic values to making practical suggestions, such as proposing an increased use of wind energy and easing visa restrictions on workers from Asia.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said that Estonia, the homeland of 1.5 million people, has performed its most important duty to the state, the nation and the local culture: among the northern European countries it is Estonia that has become the most integrated with the common western structures, which, in today's world, eliminates the possibility of losing autonomy and independence due to the aggressive interference of foreign forces. "However, we are, as is characteristic to Nordic nations, self-critical and unwilling to declare the history over. The eyes of bystanders help us to identify our weaknesses and, in order to do so, we have invited you, our friends, here today to listen to your honest and sincere advice," said president Ilves, addressing the party of more than 40 foreign guests.

Margus Reinsalu, the initiator of the project and owner of investment company KC Grupp, said that the main purpose of the meeting was to introduce Estonia to the foreign delegates, which he claimed to be far more effective than simply talking about his country while abroad: "This is a fantastic opportunity for introducing the local favourable economic climate, innovative technology, beautiful nature and unique culture to both the people that are important for Estonia as well as to the rest of the world. I hope that the Estonia's Friends International Meeting will become an annual event, which will make a considerable contribution to the ways Estonia is introduced in the world."

The symposium was part of a three-day event, the Estonia's Friends International Meeting, a primarily cultural programme during which the foreign VIP guests attended dinners, musical performances and met the prime minister. On August 20 they also attended an official reception celebrating Estonia's Day of Restoration of Independence.

About the Estonia's Friends International Meeting

The Estonia's Friends International Meeting is a joint initiative launched by Enterprise Estonia, the country's largest support institution for business and entrepreneurship, Margus Reinsalu, a local business tycoon and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia to thank and recognize business, political and cultural figures whose actions and advice have helped Estonia to become a truly European country with a dynamic economy and thriving culture.

Pictures from Estonia's Friends International Meeting

Video from Estonia's Friends International Meeting

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