Social Democrat (SDE) Chairman Jevgeni Ossinovski said the question of Juhan Parts's (IRL) candidacy for a seat at the European Court of Auditors is a minor question in the grand scheme of things, adding that it has still managed to damage enthusiasm for cooperation in the coalition.
In an end-of-the-year-interview with ERR, Ossinovski said the most important achievement for the state was to increase support for children and families. Child benefits have increased from 19 euros per child per month to 45 euros each for the first two children and will increase to 60 euros per child from January 1.
He said in combination with a number of other measures, the number of children in Estonia living in poverty has dropped. Ossinovski said the number of children living in absolute poverty is expected to halve in 2016.
“A wish has arisen in our nation, to isolate us from the rest of the world, to shut doors and windows. We had become used to saying Estonia has no extremism, but last year has shown a split in opinions on fundamental questions of principle. Both with the Cohabitation Act and with refugees. Many people, whose opinions I have previously respected, have come out with inhumane or even racist statements,” he said.
Speaking about the Reform-Party-IRL-SDE coalition, Ossinovski said it is not easy to reach decisions when political forces with such differences in worldview are together. “It is always easier to be in opposition, but our responsibility to the fate of the Estonian society demands we bare the responsibility of government,” he said, adding that it would be unthinkable to have EKRE in government instead of SDE.
Speaking about the Parts case, where SDE blocked the former PM's candidacy to the European Court of Auditors, creating friction between them and IRL, Ossinovski said government has spent too much time on the question. SDE has blamed Parts for a number of mistakes while serving as the economy minister, including the bankruptcy of Estonian Air. IRL said SDE only blocked Parts's bid for the EU position because he voted against implementing acts to the Cohabitation Act, which gives same sex couples more rights. A topic which SDE has heatedly backed, but which IRL has rejected.
Editor: J.M. Laats