At the festive opening of the Riigikogu autumn session, the President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas and the President of the Republic Kersti Kaljulaid made speeches.
Põlluaas spoke of several important anniversaries celebrated this year, of which the crowning point had been the celebration of the centenary of the parliament. He recalled the progress of the independent Estonia, and the political events connected with it, through the prism of historical events. Põlluaas also highlighted the issues relating to the commencement of the work of the new Riigikogu.
“Because of the prolonged coalition negotiations, our spring session was short. This situation must definitely be improved now. During the coming months and years, we need to make strong efforts to adopt and implement decisions and principles to improve the life in Estonia through legislative measures,” Põlluaas said.
“In jubilee years we habitually look into the past, and this is indeed what I have done. However, we eventually reach from the past to the future through the current moment. We must leave a beautiful, stable and successful Estonia to our children and grandchildren. The Riigikogu must actively contribute to the solution of long-term problems. To achieve this, the Riigikogu needs to have more initiative, be more aware of its role and independence, and pass only high-quality and expedient laws. This will definitely help increase trust in the Riigikogu. The number and scope of the challenges that we need to solve in legislative drafting is high. It is a hard, but definitely inspiring work,” Põlluaas noted.
He expressed hope that work in the Riigikogu would be more cooperative and mutually understanding, because together we can do much more for Estonia than we have done so far, in confrontation. “I wish all of you a good start of the new season, common sense, fruitful discussions and respect for your colleagues,” Põlluaas said.
Kaljulaid discussed the topical issues in the organisation of Estonian state affairs and the expectations for the Riigikogu to resolve them.
“I am worried by our prospects. The horizon. Or more specifically – what is beyond the horizon. There are so many threads we should be pulling on right now. Threads which lead to new opportunities, to new finds that help create growth and development. Also threads, which have been created by our previous aspirations, previous hopes and our desire to meet these expectations,” the President said. She analysed the urgent tasks facing the society, and presented her vision for solving them.
“You in this hall are the ones who are directly responsible for making sure these questions get answered. You are free to design the answers but only as long as you abide by the constitution approved by the Estonian people. You are free in your decisions but not completely – according to the constitution, you must keep in mind the expectations of all people in Estonia, rather than those of your voters,” Kaljulaid stressed.
“You are the wardens of the rule of law – this is a bigger responsibility than simply being a legislator. You cannot escape this duty or hide behind a group identity or your political affiliation. Do your decisions address questions important in society? I believe they do. Can the Estonian people continue to trust their constitution and the promises secured by law, even if they are long term? You can bring hope and security, but you can also bring cynicism and the belief that every one of us, including those in this hall, only stand for their own interests or those of a small circle of people,” the President said.
Kaljulaid wished that caring and benevolence would win. “It is all up to you. Good luck!”
The Concert Choir of Veronika Portsmuth Choir Academy, conducted by Veronika Portsmuth, who performed at the opening sitting, created a festive atmosphere.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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