Ossinovski: Government's emergency committee has too much power

Jevgeni Ossinovski
Jevgeni Ossinovski Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Speaking on ETV morning show "Terevisioon", opposition MP Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) said that the most significant mistake in connection with the coronavirus crisis is that the seven-member government's emergency committee is consolidating responsibility and decision-making powers.

Ossinovski said that conferral of decision-making powers on the emergency committee was important at the start of the crisis so rapid decisions could be made. Emerging from the crisis, however, there needs to be a wider discussion.

"Therefore it is very important that it is openly debated and we get the feeling we are explained why this is so - why won't the malls be opened for a week until the need for hospitalization decreases. Only then a common understanding will develop. But if this comes top-down from a seven-member emergency committee, it will not evoke such a feeling," Ossinovski said.

According to the former minister of education and research, a thorough parliamentary debate concerning this would be elementary, but it has been avoided.

"All those critical questions need be asked and government members must answer. Part of a democratic society is having all the data that decisions are based upon public. In Great Britain, for example, there have been numerous debates on whether the advice that scientists give the government should be public."

"Even if not everybody are in agreement, all would then understand why one or another decision was taken. Today, there is no such certainty and people are undoubtedly getting tired," Ossinovski said.

"As one of my favourite philosophers said: people are ready to suffer on the condition that their suffering has a meaning. If some guys discuss individual criteria for a week and come up with something that does not answer society's most pressing questions, people get the feeling that they aren't in control and they shouldn't be listened to at all," Ossinovski added.


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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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