Chancellor of Justice: Parliament Must Retain Power on ESM, Strategic Issues ({{commentsTotal}})

Justice Chancellor Indrek Teder (left) standing next to Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi
Justice Chancellor Indrek Teder (left) standing next to Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

A perceived waning in the decision-making power of elected representatives was the main theme of an annual report delivered to Parliament today by Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder.

In his address, the nation's top legal ombudsman said that parliamentarians were deciding increasingly less in today's Estonia. 

"I am most bothered by the fact that we are increasingly getting away from the Article One of the Constitution, which says Estonia is a democracy where the highest power is vested in the people," Teder said.

"The making of important decisions is delegated to the executive branch, to parliamentary committees, persons in private law, or international organizations."

The remarks come in the context of deliberations on the European Stability Mechanism Treaty, on which Teder has solicited a ruling from the Supreme Court. Teder has said that Parliament must insist on being given decision-making power to set conditions for assistance to troubled Eurozone countries. .

"It is not enough for Parliament to decide that Estonia is 'irrevocably and unconditionally' ready to place more than a billion euros into the European rescue plan if it leaves it up to a committee or even a body outside Estonia to agree on the exact conditions for the bailout," he said today.

"Parliament and the executive branch must certainly not steamroll the people and the Constitution with the slogan that we would be stranded without allies if we followed democratic processes," said Teder.

He recalled the case of the privatization of Narva Power Plants, where, he argued, some had spread the claim that Estonia would not get into NATO or the EU if did not unconditionally accept a certain arrangement for privatization.

"What message do we send about our country by doing so? Does it not recall a hysterical partner who is desperately afraid of a relationship ending and is prepared to sacrifice everything?" said Teder.

In the case of the ESM Treaty, Teder has solicited a decision from the Supreme Court on whether the conditions for approving emergency bailouts are constitutional.


Kristopher Rikken

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