Latvian President Egils Levits' New Year address

Fellow compatriots,

New Year has always been about new hope. We always hope the next year will be better, more successful, or just simply happier.

Our hope right now is that we can finally put the gloom and uncertainty of the pandemic behind us. Leave behind the restrictions that have affected our life so much and tainted the public discourse stirring up strong dissent.

It is, however, clear that no one can predict when the pandemic will end.

But we are here and now. And overcoming hardship is something we are used to. There is no doubt Latvians are very capable of that.

Our companies have found new ways of conducting business and new market opportunities despite what is happening. Teachers have quickly mastered new remote teaching strategies. Despite cancelled and postponed music events, plays, exhibitions, there has been no lack of excellent culture happenings and next year will be no different.

This time has been extremely taxing on all of us, but it has also taught us so much, opening new opportunities ahead of us.

Despite governments engineering unprecedented support programmes for their populations at this time, people have lost jobs, companies have gone out of business and families have lost sight of their future.

That is why I firmly believe our central and local governments should be more sensitive towards people’s needs and see beyond the numbers compiled by statisticians. We should leave no one behind. Support must be available to everyone who has lost their footing at this time.

Non-governmental actors and volunteers have selflessly thrown themselves at helping those in need.

And we thank you on behalf of everyone!

Pandemic, globalisation, turmoil in international relations. We have had to find quick and rational solutions to these challenges. We have had to stay on track.  Keep a firm sight on our goals.

We have learned to get on top and respond appropriately to more and more unpredictable situations. We have kept a cool head when situation has been extremely fluid and learned to precisely identify the opportunities and threats involved. We have learnt to see what is real and what is only an illusion. We have learnt to avoid seemingly simple yet very misleading solutions. We have learnt to survive and keep moving on despite the uncertainty around us.

These are the very qualities that will be absolutely essential next year and, in the years, to come.

We will need emotional maturity and integrity. As people, and states. We will need to rely on each other to build more trust in society and the state.

Our people have traditionally been good at joining hands in a time of need to stay protected and give the sense of security for our families and the whole nation.

We are bound by being a part of Latvia and our common concern for it.

I hope all Latvians here in Latvia and the whole wide world will have lots of foresight, determination and self-confidence next year.

Happy New Year everyone!

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