Social Democrat Minister Candidates Reveal Plans ({{commentsTotal}})

Sven Mikser, likely to take over the Ministry of Defense. Source: (Photo: Postimees/Scanpix)

Social Democrat minister candidates have unveiled plans for the next 11 months until the next elections in 2015.

Urve Palo, who will lead the newly restructured ministry responsible for economic affairs and infrastructure told ERR radio on Wednesday she will concentrate on Estonian Air, the ferry service between the mainland and the larger islands, and diversifying energy production.

She said one of the major questions is the next stage in the inter-island ferry services, as the current contract ends in 2016. IRL was seeking to privatize the service, saying the current model of high state subsidies and a virtual monopoly by one company is too expensive.

Speaking about energy policy, Palo, a former population and ethnic affairs minister, said electricity and heat should be produced together, and facilities should be built all over Estonia, not just in Ida-Viru County.

Jevgeni Ossinovski, the next education minister if the coalition is approved by Parliament, said there is little point in dismantling all that has been completed in past governments, and he will continue with the reform of the school network.

“Our objective here (in talks over teachers' salaries) is to reestablish a constructive dialog between the sides [...]” he said, adding that the ministry must now analyze the results of the crossover to the 60 percent Estonian language rule, which compels all secondary schools to teach the majority of lessons in Estonian.

Ossinovski said exceptions could be made to the rule if student results have suffered.

The proposed minister for social welfare, Helmen Kütt, said the work capacity reform must be reviewed and more parties involved.

Andres Anvelt, poised to take over the Ministry of Justice, said laws should be made easier to understand and the new coalition will tackle deadbeat parents who fail to pay child support.

Sven Mikser, defense, and Ivari Padar, agriculture, are also in the new line-up, both have previously led the same ministries and neither has so far commented on their plans.

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