You sometimes express your stance without speaking. Whether it’s words printed on an item of clothing or by getting up and walking out of the hall of the Riigikogu. Why is the interview taking place on that very hall’s press balcony today?
I have been asked questions today answers of which need to come from this hall. Perhaps it is good to be here so that this would always be remembered. In a parliamentary country, the Riigikogu is the one body that cannot say nothing can be done. They are the ones who can always do something: protect their own dignity and human rights and those of the state and its citizens. To ensure that our freedoms are safe and debates look to the future.
Do you believe the Riigikogu is buckling under this responsibility?
The fact we’re sitting here today is to remind every MP of their responsibility in the Riigikogu. A member of parliament is free in their mandate. That is the law. That freedom ensures the aforementioned value that the Riigikogu really is all-powerful in Estonia.
While an MP is free in their mandate, we very rarely see them voting differently than their party’s mainstream.
I believe it is only natural in a situation where people have come together in parties based on their views and form groups in the Riigikogu. But talking about situations where the Estonian state and its future, human rights and people’s freedoms are at stake, it becomes a matter of conscience.
The Riigikogu has been busy reversing major reforms recently. Whether we’re talking about the mandatory funded pension reform, pharmacy reform or lowering the duty on diesel on the backdrop of climate change and carbon neutrality. Are we moving in the right direction?
I can have very different opinions as a citizen, while they are closer to different political currents at different times. But it doesn’t matter. The president of the republic is meant to make sure our legislative activity does not go beyond the confines of the Constitution and that is all I have to say about domestic policy choices.
How concerned are you that the second pillar of pension reform might not stay within those confines?
Many have found it to infringe on the Constitution. I have consulted former Supreme Court chief justices and former justice chancellor Indrek Teder. These discussions largely coincide with what different law firms have said in the media. However, we do not know whether this infringement is serious enough today.