Estonian citizens are ignorant of the European Union, as the union itself does not know what it stands for and what its aim is, says lawyer Kristjan Oad.
Speaking on ETV's “Vabariigi Kodanikud” program on Tuesday in a round-table format, outgoing MEP Siiri Oviir said voters have little interest in the current European Parliament elections as candidates do not talk about the decision-making process of the union. And candidates themselves do not know the details.
Economic expert and eurosceptic Ivar Raig said on the program: “The European Parliament has no legal right to initiate laws. Citizens, including Estonian citizens, also do not have this right. Sadly (the EP) it is a project by the elite. If we want to have a functioning EU, we need a project closer to the people,”
Oviir said the Parliament has the right to reject or modify bills. But participation in EP elections has fallen constantly since the first elections and people do not know nor are they interested in the union. Oad pointed to the EU's founding treaty, saying the treaty, or two founding documents are difficult to read even for lawyers.
The head of the European Commission's office in Estonia, Hannes Rumm, said the union's image in Estonia is good, but many politicians take a stand against it.
“If something goes well, then the prime minister says he or she did it well, but if something fails, then the blame falls on Brussels,” Rumm said, adding that generally this happens less in Estonia than in other member states, which explains why the union's image in Estonia is high.
Answering Oad's question, Rumm said the EU defends the economic well-being of the continent in times of crisis, such as now, in reference to events in Ukraine.