TALLINN - When defending Estonia’s accession to the ESM in front of Riigikogu during the first reading of the agreement, Minister of Finance Jurgen Ligi emphasized that the ESM is clearly in the interests of defending Estonia’s economic environment, writes the National Broadcasting.
Ligi noted that the major lesson from the debt crisis for Europe has been that the advantages of the single currency will have to be guaranteed through strict budgetary policy of Member States and through the stability mechanism in cases of crises.
According to the minister, the crisis proved the simple truth that Estonia as a small country is much more vulnerable towards instability in Europe than the large countries that caused that instability and Estonia is also more dependent than others on the external environment and co-operation.
“Hence, we are creating the stability mechanism directly to protect Riigikogu’s budgetary choices, not to narrow these choices by the amount that we will pay into the European Stability Mechanism,” emphasized Ligi.
He added that ESM should not be viewed as an external obligation to spend money, but as an opportunity to support our economy where the major obstacles originate.
“It is much cheaper to guarantee economic security together than it is to do so separately,” said the minister. “For us, the ESM is an opportunity to bring more order to our European economic environment, to force our partners to act responsibly and carry out reforms,” he explained.
Ligi said that when contributing into stability in Europe, Estonia needs to admit and remember that Europe has contributed several times more in direct non-returnable aid into Estonia’s welfare and this will be the case for many years to come.
Accession to the ESM will initially mean for Estonia maximum obligations of 1.3 billion euros. This figure will grow in 2023 when Estonia will be responsible for guaranteeing an amount that is more than a third higher.