Parties knew about large-scale donations in return for family support
According to dailies Postimees and Eesti Päevaleht, the parties knew ahead that they would receive sizeable donations by eight Estonian businessmen. A total sum of €800,000 was donated to the three coalition partners as well as to the leader of the opposition, the Reform Party.
A potential donation of €1m for those parties that would raise the state’s support of families with more than two children had been discussed already before the 2015 Riigikogu election, Päevaleht wrote. Several party representatives confirmed on Tuesday that back then that offer had not seemed very serious, and that no agreement was connected to the donations they eventually received.
At the same time, economics professor Raul Eamets said that without the groundwork done over the last months by various representatives of Estonia’s economy, the increased support payments of €500 a month to families with at least three children to enter into effect this year would not have happened.
According to Eamets, politicians hadn’t taken action before they were promised the donations. “The best evidence [for this] is the fact that if it could have happened without the money, then it could have been done earlier, because the problem was recognized already a long time ago,” Eamets said.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Center) commented to business paper Äripäev that when she was working on her party’s election platform for 2015 she was introduced to the according study and told that businesses were ready to act in order to make the parties listen. “But there certainly wasn’t any talk that those would get their support who would campaign [on this issue]. This wasn’t connected at all.”
Estonia’s economy is facing difficulties because of a combination of a relatively low birth rate as well as strict immigration policy. The stagnating growth of the local economy also prompted thousands to decide to move abroad, where they would find better conditions.