The role of the Estonian president in shaping European policy
Due to Estonia’s imminent accession to the EU, the role of the head of state is a relevant topic. The government and parliament have been the spotlight when it comes to studying how integration is being coordinated domestically.
Even though the office of president is the institution that is most trusted and the most influential in terms of public opinion, the president’s role in European policy has not been examined as closely. To more accurately define the president’s general representative function in terms of the EU according to Section 1 of Article 78 of the constitution, it is necessary to define his functions and analyze his competence in four main categories: the president’s domestic formal and informal activity at home and in the EU. Even though in the national system of government the president is not given separate competence in EU matters, it does not mean that the president cannot have a say at all in European integration politics. “Having a say” cannot be seen as intervening in executive powers, since the competences have been previously distributed and the presidential institution cannot change them to its advantage. It should be analyzed separately how much the influence of the president depends on the EU decision-making process and which governments are in power in EU states during the president’s term.