On 1 January 2011, Estonia will adopt the euro. It is a sign of the development of our economy during the last two decades. Although the efforts made for fulfilment of the formal criteria of the euro deserve recognition, with the benefit of hindsight it can be said that the preparation begun much earlier. Likewise, no politician or government can say that the euro is their merit. It is the Estonian people who deserve credit for that. We are one of the poorest in the “euro club” at present but we can rely on Estonians’ tenacity and diligence – they will do everything to raise their rating. The euro is a landmark which has been achieved with a great effort and from which something new will be born.
Estonia will elect a new parliament in March 2011. In the nineties, nobody doubted the necessity of the work of the parliament but nowadays it is often asked: what do we need the Riigikogu for? Hopefully this question reflects dissatisfaction with a specific composition of the Riigikogu or politician and not a doubt of the necessity of representative democracy. Political parties have become remarkably stronger in Estonia and it is often they who determine the issues that are discussed before the elections and the politicians who stand as candidates in the elections. Often, a representative of the people is first of all connected with a political party and depends more on his or her party than on his or her electors. Such a situation weakens the parliament; a weak parliament opens the door ajar for undemocratic governance. Estonia is a parliamentary republic and the Constitution grants the Riigikogu an important role in the society. The representatives of the people who will be elected to the XII Riigikogu should be able to give a more powerful content to this role.
In recent history of Estonia, dozens of significant landmarks can be found; we have been in constant change and so far we have been successful in following this path. This turn of the year, the time of the Estonian kroon, which has been an important symbol of independence for us alongside with our flag, our coat of arms and our anthem, is over. As a member state of the European Union, we should have the same attitude towards the euro as we used to have towards our own currency. So – good bye, kroon; welcome, euro!