Speeches

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At the public session of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu

Dear members of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu,

You call yourself free. But free from something or free for something? (Nietzsche)

The constitutional order of Estonia is now 100 years old. According to the results of the public vote of 28 June 1992, we have a Constitution that complies in an excellent manner with the principle phrased by English politician and writer George Halifax in the 17th century: A Maxime in Law, that no man is to have benefited from his own wrong Act. This is the principle echoed by our entire legal space. The options of people in all positions are limited. But within the limits of their powers, they are free to make decisions without fear of sanctions from people in other positions.

The freedoms and rights of all people are also restricted by the freedoms and rights of other people. But within the given framework, they are free to realize their dreams.

The idea of the Constitution of Estonia is supported by our proportional election system, which guarantees a broad representation of society’s different views in the Riigikogu.

Such an election system means that coalition governments are almost guaranteed, which means that there cannot be a government that only represents a single narrow worldview.

Our constitutional order, as the people decided in 1992, is very focused on people. First, come people. Then citizens. The state and all of its institutions are there for their citizens.

According to our Constitution, the link between the state and its citizens is not a vassal relationship or the relationship between the carer and the cared for. Taking the state’s interests into consideration for the common good is all that the state can expect from its citizens.

The Constitution says that as citizens, we are free to come and go, even give up our citizenship – but nobody can take it from us if we received it by birth.

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