No. 27




No. 27, June 2013

Estonian Human Development Report. Translators in Europe. European integration. Latin America. Ethnic policy. Segregation. State agencies in social media. Internet community. National defence. Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Summaries of articles are in English.

Full articles in Estonian

Editor-in-Chief’s Column

  • Myths

    The history dispute that broke out in Estonia in the beginning of this year, after the publication of Volume 2 of The History of Estonia, is a clear example that characterises the situation in Estonia. In a sense, Estonia is again at the crossroads: is it better to hold on fast to the values of the nation state, or to be carried along with the current of globalisation and merge into something larger – the Baltic States, the Nordic Countries, the European Union. History and the myths created on its basis have two times been very important for Estonia in achieving independence. Now, when the modern view on history has placed the events of the Middle Ages in Estonia into a wider European context, there suddenly seemed to be less heroism. The fear that an important truth is disputed brought along a wave of criticism.

RiTo conversation circle



  • Estonia – a European Rechtsstaat?!

    Estonia is a European Rechtsstaat, however, attached to this generally true statement there are still a few „buts” that require more detailed explanations. The principle of Rechtsstaat or the rule of law is to protect a person from the arbitrary exercise of public authority. It is of great importance that all legislation was in accordance with the rule of law, that all three powers of the state – the legislative, the executive and the judicial power – respected the Constitution. At the same time it may happen that the laws and court decisions alone are not enough, that from legal point of view everything seems to be all right, but in reality... Therefore the European Court of Human Rights in its case law has constantly upheld the position that the purpose of the European Convention on Human Rights is not to ensure theoretical or illusory rights but the rights that are effective and that can be exercised in practice.

  • Of the European Federation and Its Alternative

    Why does Europe need federal government? Can Europe’s strength be achieved through federal government? If yes, then what is the model of federation most suitable for Europe like? If no, then what are the best ways for developing cooperation and increasing competitiveness in the globalising world? So far these questions have not yet received an exhaustive answer that can be effectively implemented. In Estonia, the social scientists and law professors have paid little attention to these issues. But this does not mean that we should not think about them. If we do not, others will think and decide for us, because the establishing of a federation is a topical issue for both the European Union and the elite of its Member States, and at the level of civil society.

  • Can European Integration Take Place Simultaneously with Federalisation?

    The article analyses what is the causal relationship between federalisation, integration process, Europeanisation and overcoming the economic crisis; if federalisation is possible considering the positions the Member States have at the moment, and what choices would correspond to Estonia’s interests. Federalisation can be based only on the agreement of all Member States. All Member States and the European Parliament have to support the changing of fundamental agreements.

  • The (Left-Wing) Latin American Opposition to the US – for How Much Longer?

    The death of the Venezuelan populist leader Hugo Chávez and his successor’s narrow victory at the presidential elections have once again brought to the fore the abundance of left and centre-left governments in Latin America and the issue of cooperation between the Americas.

  • Humans and Health

    The data in the World Factbook on the life expectancy in Estonia in 2012 show that among 222 countries, we rank 117th. The average life expectancy of the people of Estonia born in 2012 is 73.58 years: 68.3 years for men and 79.19 years for women. Life expectancy can be longer only when people are healthy. Thus, it can be said that in 116 countries health is supported more and damaged less than in Estonia, because there is no reason to presume that the genetic material of the people living in our country does not enable us to live as long as the people in Scandinavian countries or the Netherlands. Long life is an issue of making certain choices.

  • Future of Estonia Youth Policy – Cooperation and Involvement

    Involvement of citizens in decision-making and also the cooperation between agencies are topical issues in both the broader context of governance of the state and in the narrower context of youth policy.

Constitutional institutions

  • Disputes between Parents in Determining Right of Custody and Right of Contact – Who Are the Winners and the Losers?

    Parents have equal rights and obligations regarding their children, unless otherwise provided by law. The most important part of the legal relationship between a parent and a child is the custody right of the parent. The parent’s right of custody means that a parent has the obligation and the right to take care of his or her underage child. The right of custody may be granted to a parent or not granted to a parent, and the right of custody may also be granted to a parent only partially. A thorough revision of the ownership of custody rights may turn out to be inevitable first of all in the cases when the parents start to live separately and it becomes necessary to decide to what extent and in what way both parents will participate in the life of their child. It is generally thought that it is usually in the best interests of the child whose parents are living separately to have two parents with custody rights after the breakup of the marriage or the cohabitation relationship of its parents.


Civil society and state authority

International parliamentary relations

  • Representing Estonia at the World Parliamentary Forum

    For the past two years, the Estonian delegation to the IPU has acted according to the following principle: each trip that an Estonian parliamentarian makes abroad should leave a positive trace, introduce Estonia, spread the knowledge that we are a small but good country, that our people are smart, and that Estonia is home to many good things that help make the world a better place. During the IPU Assembly in Uganda in 2012 and in Ecuador in 2013, the head of the Estonian delegation spoke of the „Let’s do it!” campaign that originated in Estonia and was first known in the world as Let’s do it World and is now known as World Cleanup. All the fifty thousand Estonian people who cleaned up Estonia within one Saturday in May 2008 can be proud of what has become of this Estonian campaign: as it spread to over 96 countries all over the world, Estonia became increasingly known as a successful and progressive country.

Art gallery