Tallinn, Stenbock House, 22 November – In association with the City of Tallinn and the Tallinn 2011 foundation, the state is inviting everyone to join in the celebrations marking the arrival of the single currency and the title of European Capital of Culture on Theatre Square in front of the Estonia Concert Hall on 31 December.
The new year will bring two very important events for Estonia. The first is the changeover to the euro – a key moment in the history of the country, and also in that of the European Union. Accep-ting the invitation extended by Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, attending the celebrations will be his Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts Valdis Domb-rovskis and Andrius Kubilius, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Olli Rehn and European Commissioner for Transport and former president of the Bank of Estonia (at the time of the introduction of the Estonian kroon) Siim Kallas.
Also promising to greet Estonia on this momentous occasion is Finnish Minister for Migration and European Affairs Astrid Thors.
1 January 2011 also marks the date on which Tallinn assumes the title of European Capital of Culture. This year-long celebration will involve around 7000 cultural events, drawing the attention of Europe’s cultural public not just to the city itself, but to Estonia as a whole. The opening party is set to be attended by representatives of other Capitals of Culture, led by Aleksi Randell, mayor of Turku in Finland – sister Capital of Culture to Tallinn in 2011 – and Cay Sevón, director of the Turku 2011 foundation.
The party on Theatre Square will start at 10.30pm on 31 December. Estonian Television’s live New Year’s Eve studio will also be on the square and in the adjacent concert hall, with everything happening inside and out beamed straight into people’s homes throughout the night. The traditional speech made by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves just before midnight will also be able to seen by people on the square on specially erected screens. The head of state has even promised to stop off at the party. Perfor-ming on the square will be IIRIS with Tanel Padar & The Sun and Kukerpillid. The square will also be the best place to take in the fireworks show lighting up the night sky above the Solaris centre.
The celebrations are being organised by the Tallinn 2011 foundation, the Estonia National Opera and the Estonian national broadcaster ERR in association with the Government Office, the Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs, Tallinn City Government, the Bank of Estonia and the Solaris shopping and entertainment centre.