At the opening of the session President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma and President of the Republic Arnold Rüütel delivered speeches.
In her speech at the opening of the 6th session of the Riigikogu Plenary Assembly, President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma said, “One of the homeworks of this session will be the ratification of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union.” One issue is the solution of legal matters, but more important is the common understanding of our future and the explaining of the Treaty to the public. The Constitutional issues have been deliberated for a long time, they last longer than the memberships of parliaments.
Mrs. Ergma highlighted the results of the last economical analysis which showed the success of the state of Estonia. “Soon the parliament has the possibility to deliberate a supplementary budget, but drafting a supplementary budget as well as a new state budget, it is necessary to look farther than the foreseeable years. It is not difficult to make promises, it is easy to continuously overload the budget, in order to guarantee a momentary welfare or one’s power for tomorrow,”the President of the Riigikogu explained.
In her speech Mrs. Ergma pointed out the importance of knowledge-based society in the Estonian development scenario. “The basis of knowledge-based society is a good and update education system, “she stated. For a long time we know the problems e.g. the inclination of the system towards higher education, a poor situation in the vocational education, the uncertainty in the relation of state-funded and fee-paid education, the work of teachers and schools subject to strict regulation or a miserably poor study environment.” In the view of Mrs. Ergma, the most difficult problem was the fact, proved by international research that, in comparison to other countries, our teachers did not very much value their work and the pupils did not like to study. It is difficult to speak of lifelong studies, if a young person leaves the school with unwillingness to study.
Dealing with the meeting of the presidents of the parliaments of the world in New York, Mrs. Ergma stated,” No one had doubts that multilateral cooperation between parliaments was very much needed, but opinions differed as to the methods and possibilities.” The international cooperation is more and more becoming a part of the work of parliaments and an over growing part of our decisions is directly connected with the events taking place in some other places of the world, our options have a direct influence on the events in other countries.
At the beginning of June the first group of the officials of the Georgian parliament passed a weeklong training in the Riigikogu. The recent training was the beginning of a longer cooperation and it will be for us at least as much useful as for Georgians. Estonia is just only learning to help, such experience must be enlarged and increased, and what is the most important – to interpret it in details for ourselves. Mrs. Ergma stated that at the meeting of the Presidents of the North-Baltic parliaments in New York, it was agreed that Estonia would coordinate the cooperation in the direction of Georgia.
Mrs. Ergma underlined that today the last full working year of that membership would begin. It is a possibility and an obligation to use our time and power resourcefully and with dignity. “Our duty is to ensure a worthy life for all the Estonian people. I wish that the elections taking place in a month would not bring the conflicts of the campaign and single unconsidered bills to the parliament, Mrs. Ergma stressed.
The President of the Republic Arnold Rüütel stressed that starting another political year, we need once again to be aware of the fact that the state of Estonia, in fourteen years of the newly gained independence, had passed the transition processes and it had the obligation to operate as a stable and reliable partner in the European Union as well as in NATO. At the same time we must not forget that the state of Estonia is “a pawn to the present and future generations in their public success and in general benefit“ and it must “ensure the preservation of the Estonian nation and culture throughout the Ages.”
Mr. Rüütel said that in a new political year he would like to see the thoroughly worked out proposals and initiative of the Riigikogu and the Government, in the matters pertaining to the development of the European Union. Now the matters connected with the process of the Treaty of the Constitution of the European Union and possible plans of action in the situation are deliberated in the Member States. At the same time the activities of the relevant expert committee, formed to the Riigikogu Constitutional Committee, seem to have come to a standstill.
In relation to the Treaty of the Constitution of the European Union and also as an independent subject, the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia had repeatedly been the subject of talks in that hall, the President stated. So far the amendments have been made to the Constitution, caused by the requirements of time and the needs and challenges of the development of our society. But several motions to amend the Constitution have not reached the deliberation process, though the time would have been right.
Constitutional institutions take on a joint liability for the people which expresses itself in strengthening the spheres of foreign policy, national defence as well as legal order. This responsibility cannot be exercised without the cooperation that takes into account the roles of the levels of power and mutual support. “Preferring party policy or personal ambitions to people’s interests does not favour this cooperation and does not show the understanding of common liability,” the President stated.
The choral singing by the children’s choir of the Estonian Television, conducted by Lii Leetma, added festiveness to the opening of the Riigikogu autumn session.
After the opening of the session, the Riigikogu started its sitting.
Minister of Internal Affairs Kalle Laanet replied to the interpellation of the Member of the Riigikogu Ken-Marti Vaher, concerning the investigation of organised crime.
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