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Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen: Estonia has important role in rule of law development in Eastern Europe

Ministry of Justice
19.2.2018 19.30
Press release

The rule of law, free elections, civil rights and market economy are behind the success of the states of Estonia and Finland, said Minister of Justice Antti Häkkänen today when speaking at the celebration of 100 years of Estonian Rule of Law in Tallinn. According to Minister Häkkänen, Estonia – freed from socialism in the 1990s – is the best example in Europe's recent history of success brought along by the adoption of new values.

"Building a society on a foundation formed by the rule of law, market economy, citizens' fundamental rights and free elections has helped Estonia find its pathway to success. The rule of law was the foundation on which we Finns also built our country and nation already before our independence. As President Svinhufvud's legacy, the rule of law, freedom as a state, and democracy that is based on free elections were Finland's inalienable fundamental values already then. We celebrated the centenary of Finland's independence last year – now it is time for all of us to celebrate your independence," Häkkänen said in his address.

According to Häkkänen, the values of the rule of law, market economy and democracy are now being challenged on many fronts. Häkkänen said that China, Russia, Turkey and internal problems of the EU place ever more pressure on the fundamental values of the social order.

"Eastern European countries are the latest ones to have adopted civil liberties, democracy, the rule of law and market economy. Therefore, it is astonishing that it is Poland that has started to question the rule of law development. People in Finland and Estonia have learned a tough lesson about what life without Western fundamental values is. We should support the Commission in its efforts to defend the rule of law together and with all possible measures," Häkkänen said.

Häkkänen also praised the long-term cooperation between the Finnish and Estonian Ministries of Justice in his speech. Direct connections have been established between Estonian and Finnish prisons, and the exchange of information is intense. The prosecution services of Estonia and Finland also have very good cooperation with each other, as do the courts of law. Cooperation between Finnish and Estonian courts is close and takes place on a daily basis.

"An ever-growing share of trials is of cross-border nature. Finnish and Estonian courts require constant legal and executive assistance from each other. This cooperation functions well, be it anything from the hearing of parties through remote connections to the enforcement of court decisions," Häkkänen praised.

"As the business lives of our countries are closely connected and we work and live in each other's countries, it is of utmost importance from the perspective of legal protection that judicial cooperation between our countries functions well."

Inquiries: Lauri Koskentausta, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 50131

Antti Häkkänen
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