Chairman of the Social Democrats (SDE), Jevgeni Ossinovski, and former SDE chairman Sven Mikser commented on President Kersti Kaljulaid’s speech of Aug. 20, rejecting her criticism that implicitly condemned SDE’s initiatives for healthy living and put them on a level with the views of the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) on freedom and rule of law.
“The president thankfully said that the continuation of Estonia as a nation state and nation and a liberal state based on the rule of law are not incompatible. Thank you, Kersti Kaljulaid! However, placing healthy eating and political choices concerning fundamental societal values on the same level is, if we use the president’s words, ‘strange’ to say the least,” Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski said on social media on Wednesday.
“The president started her speech by admonishing the social liberals, speaking about the dos and don’ts in attempting to limit the free choice of citizens. Without knowing better, I interpret this as criticism against the alcohol policy and ‘lemonade tax’ of the current government. Can the president criticize these political decisions? Of course she can! Even in a ceremonial speech,” former party chairman and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser wrote.
But she had done so saying that these attempts and the wish of certain powers appealing to conservatism for a ‘radical and revolutionary’ return to a time when people, including women and children, had significantly fewer freedoms, were “equally as strange”, Mikser pointed out, thereby putting SDE’s health initiatives and EKRE’s political course on one and the same level.
“Are these two things of equal value? Are limiting the consumption of sugary drinks and limiting the equal rights of men and women similar topics of political debate, where parties should look for a compromise? They are not,” Mikser argued. “These two questions belong in completely different categories: one is a world view, the other a question of fundamental values.”
“The fundamental values of society, human and basic rights, are not a question of world views. Those are things that we have—or at least should have—agreed on across world views already when we created a democratic state and adopted a constitution. (..) The fact that human rights apply to all, regardless of gender, age, mother tongue, skin color, sexuality, religion, or the lack of it is not a Social Democratic or Conservative understanding of the world,” Mikser wrote. There was no need to look for middle ground here, this wasn’t about balancing good and evil, as standing up against evil in this case was normalcy.
Kaljulaid had said in her speech on the 26th anniversary of Estonia’s regaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 on Aug. 20 that she could only wonder how “those with socially extreme world views” were ready to change the rules and significantly limiting people’s right to decide in “simple domestic matters” instead of “constructively supporting positive choices”.
“And all the more, when a wish or need to just fill the state treasury is what shines through those prohibitions and commands, and the fig leaf of a worldview,” she had added, in all likelihood referring to the recent efforts of the Center Party, SDE, and Pro Patria and Res Publica Union (IRL) government to introduce a tax on sugary drinks along with other measures to promote healthy living.
“And the wish for a radical and revolutionary return to a time when people, including women and children, had significantly less freedoms, seems just as strange,” Kaljulaid had added.
Read about the president's speech in the article linked to below the comments section.
Editor: Dario Cavegn
Source: BNS, ERR