Estonian coalition negotiators: It's important to intensify cooperation with allies

  • 2021-01-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Negotiators from the Reform Party and the Center Party, who on Saturday discussed matters of foreign policy, security policy and internal security for the program of the prospective new coalition government, said that the aim is to intensify cooperation with allies and improve the reputation of Estonia, Postimees reported. 

"To say that Estonia is back. We have the same values, we stand for the rule of law, freedoms, democracy and human rights. Considering that the administration in the United States is about to change, it is of utmost importance to establish good relations quickly with the new American administration," chair of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas told reporters in the evening.

In foreign policy, the new coalition intends to improve Estonia's reputation specifically in the Northern realm of values, in order for Estonia to be an innovative and open country of Northern Europe, Kallas said.

Speaking of Estonia's reputation, the chief negotiator from Center, Mailis Reps, said: "It hasn't been a secret in any way indeed that during these 20 months, the submissions that both the prime minister and the foreign minister have had to make... that it has been rather often that we have had to remind our allies and partners that we are still and very strongly their partners," Reps said.

The new coalition would continue to invest an amount equaling at least two percent of gross domestic product in national defense.

"Despite the difficult situation in the economy, we will make a contribution to the field of defense and will base our actions in this both on the development plans as well as the promises made to allies," Reps said. 

Kallas highlighted also cyber security as important.

"Everything that is to do with cyber communication and the data of the state in different networks, I believe that the domain of cyber security is equal to actual defenses," the leader of the Reform Party said.

The would-be coalition is planning to move forward with the construction of the eastern border. 

"We wish to definitely involve the Estonian defense industry if possible, considering that there are companies in Estonia that are dealing with these topics. The aim, on the one hand, is to ensure interior security, and to help restart the economy on the other," Kallas said.

Kallas added that since the state of affairs with the state budget is not good, in the construction of the eastern border a balance needs to be found between the state of the budget and effective  protection of the border. 

Kallas and Reps were unable to say when the construction of the border will be completed. 

On Friday, the second day of coalition talks between Reform and Center, the parties focused on issues related to finance, the economy, innovation and taxation, with Kallas saying that the parties met each other in the middle regarding the issue of taxes and promise a tax peace. Kallas said at a press conference on Friday evening that the Reform Party has reached an agreement with the Center Party because both parties wish to compromise.

The parties went over infrastructure, finance, research and innovation. As for infrastructure, people cannot work remotely if there is no internet, and it is therefore important to build out fast internet. The would-be coalition intends to accelerate the Rail Baltic process and move forward with the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel

For the new coalition 2+2 roads are a priority in infrastructure, which will be strongly developed further along main roads.

The negotiators discussed the acquisition of new trains, with both electric trains and hydrogen powered trains talked about. 

It was also agreed on Friday that the Aliens Act bill will definitely not go ahead in its current form.