The opening speech of the second plenary session of the 10th Riigikogu was held by the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma and the speech was made by the President of the Republic Arnold Rüütel.
Ene Ergma?s main focus was on the issue of the European Union. She stressed that the result of work done by all compositions of the Riigikogu and governments after the liberation would be given to the people for assessment and on Sunday the people of Estonia would decide their future – whether to be among the free democratic European states or to stay between the two borders. ?One of Estonia?s most important decisions of the 21st century is to be made at September 14 referendum, ? she said. Mrs. Ergma was pleased that regardless of summer, Estonian society had been engaged in a constructive dialogue about joining the European Union.
The President of the Riigikogu noted that the fourteenth of September would also be the turning point in the life of the Riigikogu. The word ?yes? would arrange a tense working schedule to the Riigikogu. Beginning from May 1, 2004, the problems of the European Union would no longer be the problems of foreign policy, but domestic policy.
Mrs. Ergma noted that the role of national parliaments as bodies closest to the people, had especially been stressed in the draft EU Constitutional Treaty and the Riigikogu has to play a significant part in it. ?Not only as introducer of the EU legislation posteriorly into the Estonian legislation, but also as designer of the legislation. We have to create an effective system that would eliminate a narrow representation of Estonia? interests only on the level of a minister or his/her assistant, ? she said.
Arnold Rüütel noted in his speech that Estonia is on the verge of a momentous decision: on September 14 the people have to decide how to move on. ?The referendum is crucial not only with regard to the amendment to the Constitution and joining the European Union, but also to its result containing a clear message about the future of our nation. The referendum gives us the answer whether to go on and consolidate the chosen path of development or to admit that we give up some objectives set in the course of restoration of independence.?
The President of the Republic said that abandoning the integration into the European Union would require to find new ways of development. In doing so, however, we may find ourselves at the dead end and in attempting to get out the costs might turn out to be far more higher than the ones so far. ?The price of this decision has to be paid by us as well as by our descendants?, he said. The President of the Republic also noted that the options ahead of us and new possibilities in the European Union had not been clearly explained to the publicity in the course of negotiations and at present a correction of mistakes had to be made speedily. ?It is a lesson for the future for the institutions assumed common liability before the people.?
In his speech Arnold Rüütel concerned also the problems of ensuring security, national defence, legal order and the problems of stable development environment and public understanding agreement.
The male choir Revalia made its appearance at the opening sitting.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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