TALLINN - European Commission Vice President Siim Kallas has publicly approved the merger Pro Patria Union and Res Publica, calling it a 'positive move' despite the strong competition it will create for the Reform Party, which he used to chair. On April 17, Kallas told the Baltic News Service that, at the moment, Estonia needed a single, mainstream conservative party.
"I admit that [the merger] will be a serious competitor for the Reform Party,' he said. Kallas added that, because there are too many parties in Estonia, most of Parliament's energy is spent on settling political arguments. "Political parties should be strong enough to have the potential to offer solutions, not steps to prevent the solutions of other parties from materializing," Kallas observed, adding that three or four parties would be an ideal number.
The Reform Party will find its place next to the new conservative party, which is emerging from the unification of Pro Patria Union and Res Publica.
"It is a matter of choice, but there are indeed certain conceptual differences between conservatives and liberals. It is especially evident that conservatives across Europe are searching for solutions to the issues currently facing the EU," he said. "It isn't sensible to gain full control over the entire political landscape."
Initially, Res Publica signed a draft merger agreement with the Reform party. The document was inked between Kallas and Res Publica's then leader Juhan Parts in January 2004. However, the Reform's new leadership, after Kallas left to fill his post in the EC and Andrus Ansip took over as party chairman, was rejected.