State visit to Estonia – day 2
On 2–4 May, Their Majesties The King and Queen carried out a three-day state visit to the Republic of Estonia at the invitation of HE President Alar Karis, who received Their Majesties together with Mrs Sirje Karis. The Swedish Government was represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström, Minister for Defence Pål Jonson and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell. Around 25 Swedish businesses also took part in the programme.
The aim of the state visit was to deepen the excellent relations between Estonia and Sweden, including their relations within the EU where the two countries agree on many issues.
The Estonia-Sweden Business Forum
Wednesday's programme began with The King, Minister for Foreign Affairs Billström, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Forssell and President Karis taking part in the Estonia-Sweden Business Forum at Kultuurikatel cultural hub.
The aim of the conference – which brought together more than 25 Swedish businesses and around a hundred participants from Estonian industry – was to create additional business opportunities between Sweden and Estonia within the green transition, digitalisation and mobility.
The King gave an opening speech at the conference, in which he said:
In a world with growing uncertainty and climate crisis, you as business leaders can contribute solutions for a more sustainable future.
"Today's common challenges offer tremendous opportunities for our companies and for our societies."
HM The King
The conference included a panel discussion on the green transition, with representatives from Swedish and Estonian businesses.
Gustav Adolf Upper Secondary School
The King and Queen and Minister Billström then visited Gustav Adolf Upper Secondary School, which was established by Sweden's King Gustav II Adolf in 1631 and is the oldest upper secondary school in Estonia.
The school is located in Tallinn's old town, in buildings dating from the 13th century. Gustav Adolf Upper Secondary School has more than 400 students, a quarter of whom spend six hours studying Swedish every week.
The King and Queen had the opportunity to speak Swedish with some of the students.
The Arvo Pärt Centre
The Queen and Mrs Karis visited the Arvo Pärt Centre, where Arvo Pärt's son Michael gave them a guided tour. The centre was created by Arvo Pärt and his family to preserve and research the composer's creative output.
The centre holds Arvo Pärt's collected archive, and explains how he developed his unique musical style, 'tintinnabuli'. The visit concluded with a concert in the centre's concert hall.
SOS Children's Village in Keila
The Queen and Mrs Karis then visited an SOS Children's Village in Keila. There, they learnt about the organisation and met families from Ukraine.
Cyber Range 14
At Cyber Range 14, The King, Minister for Foreign Affairs Billström and Minister for Defence Jonson were given a demonstration of Estonia's ability to defend itself against cyber attacks. Estonia is at the cutting edge of developing cyber capacity.
Cyber Range 14 is a unique software-based virtual environment used for purposes such as cyber security training.
Lunch with the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Estonia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Margus Tsahkna then hosted lunch at Lillepaviljon, attended by The King and ministers Billström and Jonsson.
Seminarium on defence cooperation
After lunch, The King and ministers Billström and Jonsson attended a seminar on Swedish-Estonian defence cooperation at the Ministry of Defence, where they were welcomed by Estonia's Minister of Defence.
During the seminar, the participants were given a presentation on Swedish-Estonian defence cooperation, both now and in the future, in relation to Sweden's NATO accession application.
The Broken Line Monument
During the afternoon, The King, The Queen and the Presidential couple visited the memorial to the victims of the Estonia disaster.
Reception at the Swedish Residence
The King and Queen, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence then attended a reception for Swedish expats at the Ambassador's official residence in Tallinn.
On arrival at the official residence, they were welcomed by Sweden's ambassador Ingrid Tersman and her husband Kjell Östergren.
In the evening, The King and Queen hosted a reciprocal dinner in honour of their Estonian hosts.
A state visit is the highest form of visit between two countries, and involves two heads of state meeting in a ceremonial form to strengthen relations between the two countries.
State visits aim to lay the foundations for strong personal contact and greater political, trade and cultural exchanges between the countries. Government ministers and a business delegation also take part in state visits.