Commenting on what have been described as political attacks on officials in Estonia in the outgoing year, President Kersti Kaljulaid told Postimees in an end-of-year interview that she is convinced that officials have the courage to do the right thing.
The head of state said many politicians have said in private that officials must have the uprightness and ability to stand up for their people.
"I hope that next year there will be more of those who want to talk about it with a loud and clear voice," the president said.
She also offered her words of gratitude to Estonia's professional officialdom.
"As you said, for them their current post is not the end or the ceiling of their career. It's easy for them to go somewhere else. It's because of this that I am confident that they have the courage and will to do the right thing," Kaljulaid told Postimees.
The president said it can be seen that officials have continued to do the right thing when under pressure politically.
"They have talked to the state secretary, approached law enforcement institutions when necessary. If we take each individual case separately, then indeed, formally -- so what, chief prosecutors change, sometimes cooperation with the secretary general doesn't work. But there is a pattern in it," the head of state said.
"In several other issues too it has come up namely now that we ourselves have wanted to think that we are country just like our other partners and allies. But maybe we have failed to talk through some important things? And now the question is, how to do it if you have to be in the trench all the time," Kaljulaid told Postimees.
"I would like to discuss it calmly as well: whether in order to prove to journalists that my department has behaved correctly one has to publish e-mails in a paper or not. But I cannot do it because as things stand today, we have to protect with all our force the ones who are trying to preserve and develop the rule of law. It's namely developing that we will come to when we speak about whistle-blowers. How to treat them so that their rights were protected? What are the rights of an official in an organization when they have had to turn to the prosecutor's office?" the president asked.
Editor: Helen Wright