Is the president’s speech free?
The higher one’s office, the more attention they need to pay to how their words might be construed. And the higher one’s office, the more people their words reach. The higher up you are, the more care you need to take with your words because their weight is that much greater.
Would you storm off the Riigikogu floor or refuse to authorize a minister if a coalition was not to your liking or a ministerial candidate unfit in your eyes because of pending accusations?
Life has moved on. I believe the exact same situation will never be repeated. Future presidents are likely looking at completely different tasks. The best we can do is learn from what happened.
Would you wear a jumper to the Riigikogu to demonstrate your position?
Where should the president of Estonia steer our foreign policy?
Estonia is on the border between two communities that in a sense occupy different values systems. Estonia has made its choice and looks to classical Europe. We seek the support of countries whose values are similar to ours. The main idea of Estonian foreign policy was phrased many years ago. Never again alone. We are not capable of literally affecting global foreign policy. It is our rare chance to be a full partner in the EU and NATO.
We have no choice militarily speaking. Our future would not be bright were we to find ourselves alone. There are no perfect choices in a polarized world.
That is to say you would maintain the recent line?
Estonian foreign policy is not decided by the president. The head of state represents Estonia in international communication, while the country’s foreign policy is shaped in cooperation of the foreign ministry, government and the president. It is a team effort.
Should Estonia have a dialogue with Russia?
One should always talk to one’s neighbors. Keeping quiet and glaring at your neighbor across the border is never good. Contacts need to be maintained even in the most difficult times.
Would you meet officially with the Dalai Lama?
Should Estonian policy-shapers so decide. No state representative can pursue an alternative foreign policy. That would be extremely dangerous for a small country.
What are your chances for becoming president?
This is another one of those questions where what I think counts for nothing at all. I decided to take the process seriously, after considering what I could give Estonia and how well I could perform the tasks of the president, a little before Midsummer Day. This also means trying to avoid information noise and putting in actual work. And what is paramount, leaving politicians to their work – they need to make the decision, while they should be helped in this task as far as that is possible.
Will the president be elected in the Riigikogu this time?
I would say the chances are good. The stars are aligned for electing the president in the parliament.
Where has President Kersti Kaljulaid been successful and where less so?
Deciding what was good and what was bad would require looking back from the end of history. I will not take it upon myself to judge the president’s actions, neither as a person nor as a citizen, because I do not have the information she had, also in terms of why certain things needed to be done. I would, however, like to adopt our presidents’ best and strongest traits.
How Lennart Meri put us back on the map, returned us to the heart of Europe. How Arnold Rüütel’s conciliatory spirit and calm disposition helped us get into the EU and NATO. How Toomas Hendrik Ilves made a very small country great on the international arena. And how Kersti Kaljulaid has stood in the defense of those less privileged like an indomitable wall.
Combining these traits, this whole presidential thing could really have potential.
What would be a perfect future for Estonia?
(Sighs and pauses). One based on wisdom.