Presidential address contradicts some party policies

President Kersti Kaljulaid speaking at Monday's opening of parliament.
President Kersti Kaljulaid speaking at Monday's opening of parliament. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Speaking at Monday's parliament (Riigikogu) opening, President Kersti Kaljulaid stressed the need for continuity in state reform and solidarity in social support, going against some parties' proposed policies.

Rejecting the claim that the Riigikogu is too unwieldy or unprofessional, the President used an unusual metaphor.

''The problems are more with the wallpaper, than the walls,'' Ms. Kaljulaid said.

''You don't need to knock down the walls to change the wallpaper pattern'' she went on.

''Leave things as they are; we have been well-served by a tradition of statecraft which respects democratic principles, and this shouldn't be done away with for no reason,'' she went on. New party Estonia 200 had argued for reducing Riigikogu numbers.

Social welfare in parliament with plenty of free marketeers

Avoiding security and foreign affairs, President Kaljulaid also spoke of maintaining social welfare in the free market.

''It would be an ugly situation today if, given our opportunities aren't radically different from the European average – say 75% of that, which is still 25% too little, but in the same league – we stopped sharing fruits from a tree cultivated jointly, in testing circumstances,'' she continued, still in metaphorical mode.

Reform chair Kaja Kallas has argued health insurance would be better served by the private sector than the state, so the remarks were significant.

Equal opportunities for all

''Education, health care, social support, protection from violence, help in cases of misfortune: None of this should depend on your address or paycheque,'' she added.

''Only this way can we avoid the jealousy of the neighbours issue,'' the President continued.

''A situation where all children get the same chances at school and university, where heart surgeries by the same surgeon are available to all, where the police and fire brigade reach me just as quickly as my rich neighbour: This is the kind of comfort needed'' she continued.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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