Edgars Rinkēvičs
31.12.2023. Valsts prezidenta Edgara Rinkēviča Vecgada vakara runa Rīgas pils Baltajā zālē

Good evening, dear people of Latvia,

The “moment before” has arrived. Before something new. Before new goals and new projects. Before new dreams.

Our minds understand that we can change our lives on any given day. Yet our hearts look back at the resolutions made last year. Did we succeed?

Someone, perhaps, hoped to take better care of themselves but ended up being even more tired than before. Someone else, perhaps, hoped to cook something new more often but ended up just cooking the same old three dishes. And yet someone else hoped to meet up with their loved ones more often, but the eternal “we’ll have to get together sometime” has now become an inside joke.

But this is all good news! It means that you don’t have to come up with anything new this year. The hopes of the previous year can be carried over to the new year. Only this time – may your hopes breed goals. And may your goals breed responsibility. Because no one else but ourselves can brighten our lives. Our happiness is our own responsibility. And to be in charge of your life is a great joy.

Dear people of Latvia,

The Latvia of today has been entrusted to each and every one of us. It is something greater and more beautiful than a present under the Christmas tree.

New Year’s Eve and Day will pass. The holiday bustle will end. And each of us, with our own attitude, our own responsibility – we have to do everything we can, to make Latvia safer and even more beautiful.

I am committed to stand side by side with you and together build our best country in the world – our Latvia. And we will succeed!

I wish that, faced with minor follies, everyone would ask themselves: “How can I make this better?”

I wish for people to find something to stand for together with that neighbour that just can’t seem to keep the noise down. Carry in firewood together for that nice old lady, who will never ask for help herself. And together eat the meat rolls you’ve baked too many of.

May we not look at one another through furrowed brows, but rather with a light in our eye and an open heart.

Dear friends,

Some have dressed to the nines tonight and will dance and laugh with everyone they meet. Others will see the New Year in at work, so that we can all be safe, entertained, fed and cared for. Many are enjoying New Year’s Eve dinner with their family. And half of you don’t even hear these speeches, because the children’s laughter and clamour is growing ever louder. And more important. And that’s good, too.

And many will see the New Year in alone at home. Some – because that is exactly the way they like it. Others – because that is just the way it is. Let us think of one another and take care of one another. Let us take care of those who are not us but are our own. Every day.

Let us not seek out our differences. We have enough of those. Rather, let a good word, a smile and an encouragement be the norm.

And let us not be afraid to dream, act, make mistakes and act again! Every one of us. In our Latvia.

May the year 2024 be full of health, harmony and beautiful moments for everyone!