New Estonian government assumes office (6)
The Estonian Parliament approved Taavi Rõivas's new Cabinet on Wednesday and the ministers were sworn in and assumed office today.
After almost three hours in front of the Estonian Parliament answering questions, the new Cabinet was approved by 58 votes, all MPs from the Reform Party, the Social Democrats and IRL. One Social Democrat MP, Jevgeni Ossinovski, abstained. 40 MPs voted against the new government.
Rõivas said in his speech, in which he called the new coalition a “persistent union”, that the biggest challenge in ensuring the sustainability of Estonia is increasing the number of births, an indication that the three-party alliance has embraced a more socially cohesive program, including placing more importance on increasing wages.
Child benefits for the first and second child will be increased to 60 euros, monthly payment from the third child continues to be 100 euros and additionally, families with three or more children will get an extra benefit of 200 euros.
The government set the target to increase minimum wage to at least 45 percent of the average wage level within four years and the tax-free income rate will also be increased.
Rõivas also emphasized the security, economic growth and better management of the country, also mentioning Estonia's EU presidency in 2018 as a challenge.
The other objectives include building up and equipping Estonia's eastern border with technical surveillance system, reducing the taxation of labor force, while increasing taxation on unhealthy and environmentally unfriendly goods.
In order to ensure better management of the country, the coalition is planning to introduce local administration reform, aiming at providing better public services at the local government level.
Prime Minister - Taavi Rõivas, 35, Reform Party
Minister of Foreign Affairs - Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, 39, Reform Party
Minister of Internal Affairs - Hanno Pevkur, 38, Reform Party
Minister of Defense - Sven Mikser, 41, Social Democrats
Minister of Education and Research - Jürgen Ligi, 55, Reform Party
Minister of Justice - Urmas Reinsalu, 39, IRL
Minister of the Environment - Marko Pomerants, 50, IRL
Minister of Culture - Indrek Saar, 42, Social Democrats
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure - Kristen Michal, 39, Reform Party
Minister of Entrepreneurship - Urve Palo, 44, Social Democrats
Minister of Rural Affairs - Urmas Kruuse, 49, Reform Party
Minister of Finance - Sven Sester, 45, IRL
Minister of Health and Labor - Rannar Vassiljev, 33, Social Democrats
Minister of Social Protection - Margus Tsahkna, 37, IRL
Minister of Public Administration - Arto Aas, 34, Reform Party