Mr Minister, dear Rein Lang, Austatud Minister Rein Lang,Mr Minister, President of the French Institute, dear Xavier Darcos,Austatud Prantsuse Institute President Xavier Darcos,Ambassadors, Lugupeetud suursaadikud,Ladies and gentlemen, Daamid ja härrad,

In 1994, a young man and a politician discussed the future of Estonia.
Just after that, we discussed Estonia’s integration policy and projects
in the European Union. Eerik saw them as agreements and contracts,
August saw Dante, Shakespeare and Schiller. Neither saw
food standards, milk pasteurization, oil croissants
in plastic packaging, nor fingerprint passports
incorporated. They wanted at all costs to be European, to escape the old
Asian barbarism, preferring European barbarism, which they did not have
not yet had to suffer, or so little." These lines are from Katrina Kalda,
and young Estonian author based in France, taken from his
Estonian Roman. I think the occasion that brings us together this evening comes
precisely refute the disillusioned remarks of the narrator of Katrina Kalda.
The cultural seasons are there to remind us of the reality of Europe’s
culture, which will never be soluble in the coldness of standards.

I am indeed very pleased to welcome you this evening rue de Valois for
celebrate together the launch of the “Tonic Estonia” festival, which
starts today, and will continue until December 17
next. I especially welcome all those who
come especially from Estonia to participate in this event, and
artists of the Tallinn National Men’s Choir, which
will give two concerts as part of the Île-de-France festival, and
will give us the privilege of interpreting two short
pieces after these few words.

This festival is unquestionably under the sign of Europe,
from its origins. Paradoxically, this is neither in Paris nor in
Tallinn, but in Barcelona we took together, with
enthusiasm and determination, the decision to give concretely
birth at an Estonian festival, during a meeting, Mr Minister,
with your predecessor, Mrs Laine Jänes, on the sidelines of the meeting
EU Culture Ministers in March
2010.

A strong signal for Europe of culture too, because, as you have
recalled, this festival is closely linked to Tallinn, Capital
this year.

Strong signal for Europe, finally, as it is a new mark of the will
of your country, since the restoration of its independence
20 years, to share a common European identity and future, in
this year when your country did not hesitate to adopt the Euro as its currency.

I will not go into detail about the very rich programming that goes
be proposed to the public, and which reflects the tremendous vitality and
cultural creativity of your country. I am delighted that the fifty
of programmed events concerns all the domains of the
culture, from music to film, from theatre to visual arts and
from architecture to literature.

This festival testifies in the first place to the exceptional affinity between
your country and music; all the music, the most traditional,
like that of the Seto people presented at the House of World Cultures,
to the most connected and innovative, such as digital performance
which will be held at the Cube in Issy-les-Moulineaux, or the performances
planned at Mama, Point éphémère or the Jazzy Color festival. It’s
this affinity, this special relationship to music, which has earned Estonians
the nickname “singing people”; in Estonia, singing is the key
the revolution.

It is therefore hardly surprising that contemporary music is
also an area in which Estonia excels; and in this matter I
I look forward to the special tribute that will be paid during several
concerts to your very famous composer, Arvo Pärt, in places also
church, 104 or the temple of the Oratory. No
only music lovers, but also filmmakers and cinema audiences
know him well, having often borrowed or heard his creations
from Lovers of the Pont-Neuf to Habemus Papam.

Our cultural relations are based on very fruitful associations whose
this seasons is the image, such as the Franco-Estonian group «Red
Madame» who will perform at Point Ephémère, conducting the Orchestra
by Estonian chef Paavo Järvi, or
the workshops planned between architects in the universities
architecture of Belleville and Val-de-Seine. «Estonia Tonique» will be
the opportunity to multiply the meetings between French and Estonian talents,
from which will spring new creative impulses.

Beyond music, I do not forget that it is a whole country that comes to the
meeting of Parisians, symbolized by the arrival today on the canal
Saint-Martin, of the viking boat, emblematic of the belonging of your
countries with a Nordic dimension.

«Vabadus», the Estonian word for «Liberté», is the title of the exhibition which
will gather at the castle of Asnières, the works of some of the best
contemporary Estonian artists. This is also the spirit of this festival, and
all of your creators who have been involved. The theatrical component will testify to
of this spirit of freedom and even irreverence, including the series of
performances at the Odeon - Théâtre de l'Europe de la pièce Comment
explain paintings to a dead hare. The film component of this
festival, Cinémathèque, Amiens festival, Musée du Quai
Branly, or the Lincoln Cinema, will also give us a testimony
of this great creativity.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you, Mr Minister, and
the Estonian Embassy in France and the Estonian cultural world, for
this magnificent overview of Estonian culture, that you give us the
privilege to taste and enjoy this fall 2011. I want to
thank also all the French cultural operators, many here tonight,
hoping that you will forgive me for not quoting them all, and that
thus wished to become partners of «Estonia tonic».

Finally, I would like to thank you, dear Xavier, and with you the
the French Institute, which have made remarkable efforts to
this season all the richness, diversity and impact it deserves.

In the end, this festival will have achieved its goal, if it gives to the artists, the
architects, Estonian writers who will succeed each other in Paris during
two months, the desire to come back here, to work and create with their
French counterparts, and to them the desire to also go to meet the
Estonian creators at home in Estonia. I have no doubt that it will
also give the public the desire to go further in knowledge
Estonian culture and discover a country that France and Europe
carry in their hearts. It was Karl Ristikivi who wrote: Our roots do not
are not in childhood, they are in every place where we passed
one day.”

Best wishes to the Estonian season. Soovin Eesti festivalile
kordaminekut ja edu!

Thank you. Suur tänu!