Estonian president: Constitution places value in people's freedoms

  • 2020-06-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Under the valid Constitution of Estonia, the relationship between the state and the citizen is not a vassal relationship, but one that places value foremost in being human and the freedoms of each individual person, President Kersti Kaljulaid said in her speech at a public meeting of the parliamentary constitutional committee marking the centennial of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia on Monday. 

"Our constitutional order, as decided about by the people in 1992, is extremely diverse. First, there is the person. Then, there is the citizen. The state and all its institutions are there for the citizen. The link between the state and the citizen under our Constitution is not a vassal relationship, nor a relationship between the carer and the cared for," Kaljulaid said according to spokespeople.

The president stressed that the people, the bearer of the supreme power, did not want when approving the Constitution that there was simply a power of the majority over the minority in Estonia.

"The people of Estonia clearly wanted all of us to be people who are free in their choices. That the state would never tell us where and how we should live," the head of state said.

The president pointed out that a concept of the state whereby the citizen is not one of the objects of state power, someone who is governed and can be used for the implementation of the goals of the state, is very demanding for those who are governing the country.

"The only reason why a citizen of a state with such Constitution will support their state in its aspirations and objectives is the free will of the citizen. Free will is born out of respect for one's state and its institutions. Free will is born out of understanding of the goals of the state. Free will is born also out of a citizen seeing themselves as someone who shapes and implements the goals of the state," Kaljulaid said

As one sign of danger, Kaljulaid named excessive satisfaction with the things already achieved and confidence in that our course is unassailable.

"During the peaceful stages of history, contentment with what has been achieved arises in societies. A feeling that from now on, the only way is up. Even a feeling that there is sometimes room for decisions which contain a tremendous risk of also rolling down a bit, as in the end there's nothing existentially dangerous in it after all. Such moments, however, may prove the turning points in history," the president said.