Reform leader Kallas says cost savings must be sought in every area

  • 2023-03-08
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Estonian Reform Party leader Kaja Kallas said at the end of the first day of coalition negotiations that, as a result of the state's poor financial situation, cost savings must be sought in every area, the daily Postimees writes.

According to Kallas, the state's financial situation is quite difficult at the moment.

"We definitely need to make major reforms to maintain the country in this form. All the coalition partners agreed that we need to look into every area, what we are doing and how we are doing it, and whether it is possible to do it in a different way to save costs," she said.

According to Kallas, the representatives of the Reform Party, Estonia 200 and the Social Democratic Party (SDE) are kicking off coalition talks by looking into every area. On Thursday, they will talk about the big picture, how different political parties see it, so that the partners are in a single information space. From there, the talks will proceed by field with discussions of what should be done in one or another field.

Kallas said that there are a number of issues that have been stuck behind the fact that there was no agreement on these issues in the previous coalitions.

"Now we will see if we can get these out from behind the stump, so to speak, in this coalition," she added.

"I can single out the implementation of green reforms as one big topic -- how the green turn can become an engine of economic growth, how to help our companies, what the state should do to ensure that Estonia remains on the side of the winners in the green turn taking place around the world," Kallas said.

According to the Reform Party leader, the promises of the party's election program were not the most expensive.

"This must be corrected: we had one promise that was expensive, that is to eliminate the tax hump. So that the tax increase does not eat up the salary increase. We had one such promise," she said.

"But in total, our election program was second from the bottom in terms of expenses. Rather, it was the cheapest, considering that the Right-wingers, who were last, simply did not publish their program," Kallas said.

When asked what the government to be established should start cutting, whether it will be, for example, family allowances or free public transport, Kallas advised not to rush ahead of things and said that issues should be dealt with in order.

"First of all, the idea is to look into all areas to find these places of reform. Last but not least, we will look at the state budget and taxes, because in around three weeks there will be an economic forecast that will clarify the picture of how all these things should come together financially," she said.

According to Kallas, the plan for the talks has been laid across quite a long period of time.

"On Thursday, we will talk about the values of the coalition, the big picture for Estonia and Estonia's future for four years. Then we will move on by topics: security, foreign policy and beyond," she said.

"I rather think that the negotiations will take longer. As long as the election result have not been announced, the so-called constitutional clock has not started ticking either. I think that we will use up all that time, because, as it turned out today, the coalition partners are very thorough and, really, thorough preparation will perhaps also prevent disputes in the future once the government is together," Kallas said.

"The topics are fixed by day. Some topics can take two days or more. I cannot estimate this now. I would estimate that all the time provided by the law will be used up. This is not a quick agreement," she added.