The Riigikogu should carry forward, develop, but also safeguard and protect the pillars of the democratic and parliamentary state that are set out in the Constitution, President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas (Center) said in his speech at the Riigikogu's first sitting of the autumn session.
"This is the Estonia that is built on freedom, justice and law, this is the country of our fathers where the preservation of the Estonian nation, language, and culture is ensured throughout the ages. A country where the highest power is invested in the people," Ratas said. "I firmly believe that these values provide the framework and the content to our discussions and debates during the autumn session like always."
He said the work of the Parliament during this session must be geared towards a dialogue with each and every person living in Estonia.
"A dialogue about how our people cope, feel secure, how our nation would survive, about both mental and physical health, education, economy, this exhausting coronavirus, and international situation," Ratas explained.
However, he said it is possible to have dialogue only if talking and listening are balanced.
"I believe that this will help to pacify our society, improve relations, and increase our faith in our future. We need all this in our complicated world and in Estonia very much," Ratas said.
Ratas underlined that the decisions made to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic had to remain a priority also in the Riigikogu. He said that the objective was clear – a society that is as open as possible and where the people's health is ensured.
Ratas set out the construction and renovation of cultural facilities of national importance, the Education Sector Development Plan for the next 15 years and the next year's state budget as the topics that would be discussed during the Autumn Session.
He added that supported the debate and expansion of the Riigikogu's decision-making competence in regard to the state budget. President of the Riigikogu also considers it important to hold a political debate on the procedure for the election of the President.
In his speech, Ratas raised the international geopolitical situation. "The latest events in Afghanistan and on the Belarus border clearly demonstrate how important it is to build a strong democratic state and to foster allied relations," Ratas said.
He spoke of the local government elections as well. He invited everybody to participate in the elections and to fulfil their civic duty.
Rata's full speech can be read here.
Editor: Helen Wright