Sven Mikser, head of the Social Democrats, said recent extremist and hateful comments were a populist attempt to tap into social and economic discontent.
Mikser addressed the issue, spotlighted by the media in recent weeks, in a speech at the Social Democrats' annual congress this weekend.
“Causing undue harm to another person, discriminating against him - that cannot and should not be a basic right. Those making statements inciting homophobia, racism and hatred invoke their freedom of speech and opinion, and I use my freedom of speech to say that I consider such standpoints morally disgusting and unacceptable. I believe they are a danger to Estonia,” he said.
Mikser described the issue as a pseudo-problem cloaking poverty, unemployment, lagging regional development, and the population exodus that has resulted.
“I won't accept the replacement of substantive discussion of Estonia's employment, migration, language and cultural policies with insults and labeling,” Mikser said.
“If we try to prioritize the reasons that have forced tens of thousands of people from brushing the dust of their homeland off their feet, then I doubt anyone will claim that they departed because new immigrants with a different skin color have taken their jobs,” Mikser said.