Estonian parlt speaker: COVID-19 situation not about to end any time soon

  • 2020-09-14
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The COVID-19 situation will not end any time soon and the course thereof is unpredictable, Riigikogu speaker Henn Polluaas said in his speech at the Estonian parliament's opening session on Monday.

"Thus, we must do everything to minimize risks to people's lives and health and ensure the functioning and recovery of our society and economy," Polluaas said.

"For that purpose, we have introduced a number of important and worthwhile measures, but we cannot rest just yet. As we saw with COVID-19, admitting urgent issues into handling and resolving them immediately is often a matter of vital importance. We mustn't dramatize the situation, of course, however. What we need is a balanced approach," he added.

Polluaas said that Estonia is among world leaders in terms of its provision of digital services. A comprehensive discussion of relations between technology, politics and the parliament is required, however, according to the Riigikogu speaker.

"In spring, we amended the Riigikogu Rules of Procedure and Internal Rules Act to enable the electronic holding of plenary sessions in a crisis situation during which the parliament cannot convene physically. We've been developing a platform for this purpose the entire summer and it is now in testing phase. Only a few parliaments in the world have this option of holding e-sessions, and I dare say that ours surpasses them all. We'll all be able to test it in the near future," he said.

Polluaas also spoke about the tasks faced by members of the parliament and said that while MPs' approaches to problems may differ, the parliament undoubtedly shares the opinion that the state must in any case try to improve the lives of Estonian people.