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President Kaljulaid to the Estonian Parliament: we have a crisis of values

President Kaljulaid to the Estonian Parliament: we have a crisis of values © Erik Peinar

04.04.2019

All the members of the Parliament are here as a result of democratic processes and Estonia does not have a crisis of democracy. Nevertheless, we have a crisis of values, why else would a month after the elections large portion of the people feel as if something has been broken in our society and as if certain agreed limits no longer seem applicable, President Kersti Kaljulaid said today at the opening session of the XIV Riigikogu.

“It is not a matter of world views but often of elementary politeness and respect. Of respect towards each other and the people,” the Head of State added. She stressed that the bearers of each world view are welcome to participate in the political process and compete for seats in the Riigikogu, but every member of the Riigikogu is free within their mandate and can follow the Constitution and their own moral compass. “Should the latter two conflict, the Constitution naturally prevails,“ the President added.

President Kaljulaid reminded the Palirament of the II Chapter of the Estonian Constitution, which is clearly dedicated to democratic values. “It is the nucleus text of the Estonian state which proves to the entire world that we belong to free Europe. It is a text that is sacred to everyone who serves the Estonian state as an official, politician, serviceman, police officer, teacher, doctor, journalist or artist. It is a text without which our state would not be free and without which the people in our country would not be free. And this text is also our security guarantee,” the President stated. She also emphasised the importance of the freedom of press, saying that if you do not know how or do not want to, then you do not have to answer, but we should not prohibit the journalists from asking.

The President also stressed the importance of thinking how to make our 30 years of economic development serve the interests of the people in a way that everyone would feel as they have benefitted from it. “Much needs to be done and the economic opportunities created in 30 years allow us to actually serve all the people of Estonia. Serve also those whose concerns have led them to wanting to demolish and start from scratch. If we act together and with integrity, we can glue our society back together. But this calls for honesty, a sincere will to understand everyone, the ability to notice the negative side effects beside the advantages of one’s political decisions, and the willingness to reduce such negative effects,“ the Head of State said.

President Kaljulaid called upon everyone to say “no” to revolutions and the demolition of our society. “A true conservative is someone who is able to sufficiently assess ongoing and upcoming changes in society and balance them in such a way that we never need a revolution,” she said.