At its today’s sitting, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) heard the overview on foreign relations by the President of the Riigikogu, and recommended him to keep his personal opinion and his party’s position apart from representing the Parliament in his statements on the Estonian-Russian border agreement.
President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas explained the Foreign Affairs Committee his positions on the Estonian-Russian border treaty and the Tartu Peace Treaty. He said that his remarks had been based on his own clear views and the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Enn Eesmaa said that the Committee heard the explanations of the President of the Riigikogu, and wished to clarify Põlluaas’s recent statements on the Estonian-Russian border issues, which Russia had interpreted as the position of the Estonian Parliament. “Today’s debate was really necessary, we specified our positions and recommended the President of the Riigikogu to underline when he is expressing his personal opinions in his statements,” Eesmaa added.
Eesmaa also said that legal continuity was very important, and that all earlier resolutions of the Riigikogu and the Government on the Estonian-Russian border treaty were valid, as they had not been amended. “Although the present composition of the Riigikogu has not adopted any resolutions in this issue, this does not mean that the resolutions of the previous composition are not in force,” Eesmaa emphasised.
Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson said that the Parliament had to proceed from the law, and pursuant to the Foreign Relations Act, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu coordinated the foreign relations of the Riigikogu. “The rules of procedure say that the President of the Riigikogu represents the Riigikogu, and the good practice in democratic parliamentary countries is that the principles and the positions that have been formulated at the debates in the Parliament must be adhered to,” Mihkelson pointed out.
According to him, it is unacceptable that the President of the Riigikogu does not proceed from the earlier resolutions of the Parliament and presents his personal and his political party’s opinions in his statements and interviews in such a way that they may be interpreted as the Parliament’s position.
Mihkelson emphasised that nobody was attacking the personal positions of Henn Põlluaas, but it was necessary to clarify which resolutions of the Riigikogu were the basis for the statements Põlluaas as the President of the Riigikogu had expressed in the media on the issues regarding the border treaty.
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