President: State of emergency must be limited in time ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

An emergency situation has to be limited in time and extended by no more than a month at a time, President Kersti Kaljulaid said in an interview on Thursday.

"It is very important that an emergency situation is limited in time so people know when it will end, regardless of whether we believe that the emergency situation should be extended or not. If extended, the time period should not be so long that people would think that the state wants to run the country under the emergency situation for some time after the medical crisis has ended," Kaljulaid told Vikerraadio.

"My recommendation is to extend the emergency situation by no more than a month at a time," Kaljulaid added.

The President said that measures enforced by the head of the emergency situation, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), have been proportionate and timely in the light of the current situation. Kaljulaid did not want to speculate on when the emergency situation will start to ease.

"I am worried that the number of positive diagnoses had risen as of this morning. This is a long and miserable disease. This virus does not behave differently in Estonia compared to other countries. We can only hope that we are responsible enough to keep our distance from each other."

"Of course we cannot say that we have dealt with the situation flawlessly. No one in the world can say that. But we are adapting to the situation. I am sure that if another global crisis should hit us in the future, we will not be perfectly ready for that, either. No country, especially a small country, can always be ready for everything."

Regarding international cooperation during the crisis, Kaljulaid added: "It has been said that the European Union was not able to handle it. To those people, I have always said that if the European Union could not handle something, it means that we could not handle it. The EU did not end the functioning of Schengen, member states did that themselves, rather chaotically at that."

"The free movement of workers is now restricted and will probably stay restricted for a long time, because strategies chosen by different countries are also different," she said. The President also criticised the EU, saying that the organisation responded in fields where it should not have, such as healthcare.

"It took its share of responsibility without the mechanisms to bear it. This is how people start thinking the European Union is not functioning. The EU has to think about its main job which is how we can restart our economies after this crisis."

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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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