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Today, the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma met with the President of the Republic of Finland Tarja Halonen who is on a visit in Estonia. Because of the problems of labour market and the ageing of the population, education issues were the main focus of the meeting. Ergma admitted that, in Europe, too little attention has been paid to the fact that the continuing rapid ageing of the population may lead to states facing serious social and financial options in the future. “Since many jobs have disappeared or are disappearing in connection with technological development, and retraining is very expensive, then consideration should be given to how to organise instruction horizontally, that is, how to give people a little higher education than the education they already have,” Ergma thought. Halonen, for her part, added that lifelong learning and, consequently, encouraging learning is becoming increasingly important in Finland, too. “The way of thinking has to be changed. The fundamental question is how to learn to learn,” Halonen stressed. The President of Finland believed that education is indeed the field where both Finland and Estonia can do much together, with the aim of preserving functioning societies. When discussing labour force issues, Halonen noted that we are “self-service states” where residents like to do even simpler jobs themselves, not asking help from anybody else.

The President of Finland also expressed interest in the developments accompanying the adoption of the euro. The financial crisis in the European Union and possible measures to improve the situation were also discussed.

Being aware of the Finnish President’s interest in the Estonian language, the President of the Riigikogu gave the guest Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald’s “Eesti rahva ennemuistsed jutud” [“Ancient Estonian Folk Tales”], illustrated by Günther Reindorff, in Estonian.


The Riigikogu Press Service