The Freedom Monument symbolically depicts our soldiers – the participants of the Freedom Battles who fought for our country. Without them, we would not be standing here today in a free, democratic Latvia.
Today, you are also protecting Latvia. Your predecessors – the participants of the Freedom Battles – had to win Latvia. You have the task to protect Latvia. To protect a Latvia that was restored more than 30 years ago, but which is still under threat. In recent years, with Russian aggression, this threat has increased.
We rely on you because you are professional, disciplined, motivated patriots of Latvia. We, all citizens of Latvia, trust that our Latvia will be protected because this is your task, which you carry out wholeheartedly. Together with our NATO allies.
Your professionalism is highly appreciated among our NATO allies. One of the best NATO armies, one of the best NATO armed forces. Not in numbers, because we are a small country, but in professionalism, in the way you carry out your duties.
You draw your strength from your love for Latvia. From the fact that you are Latvian patriots and have dedicated your professional lives to Latvia. We, all citizens of Latvia and the Latvian state, value it very highly.
Today I am addressing you for the last time as Commander-in-Chief of the Latvian Armed Forces. My successor will continue this task. On behalf of the Latvian people and on my own behalf, I would like to express my deep gratitude to you for your work, your dedication and your patriotism.
Dear Latvians, citizens of Latvia,
Today is my last day as President of Latvia. During these four years, I have sincerely tried to make Latvia safer, more national and competitive.
Our security has increased because we are integrated into NATO, the world's strongest defence alliance. Our security has increased despite the Russian threat. Also, because our soldiers are actively participating in strengthening the NATO alliance.
I have tried to make Latvia more national, and I think that today, four years later, compared to when I took office, Latvia has become more national. The fact that Latvia is national is now more or less a given. It is self-evident to all residents of Latvia that our official language is Latvian, which should dominate the public space. This process means decolonisation. The process of eliminating the consequences of colonialism is at the same time our process of normalisation. We are becoming fully a European country with our own national identity, our own self-confidence, our own role in Europe and in the world.
I have tried to make Latvia more competitive. Latvia can only be competitive if Latvia invests in its people, if we are educated, if we are skilled, if we have the capabilities with which we can compete in the world. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I think we are moving in the right direction, and I have also tried to get us to move faster in that right direction.
I thank the people of Latvia for the opportunity to serve Latvia for these four years as President of Latvia. I will continue to do so as a responsible Latvian citizen and a free man.
God bless Latvia!