Opposition demands to see Prime Minister’s economy action plan
Opposition groups in the Riigikogu submitted a joint interpellation to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, demanding that he present the government's action plans in view of the recently announced large-scale layoffs by several industrial companies.
Kadri Simson, chairwoman of the Center Party’s parliamentary party, said that the statement by Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas (Reform) last week that the economy was strong and that its vulnerability had decreased sounded hollow in the light of the layoffs announced by PKC Eesti and Viru Keemia Grupp.
"In a situation where our economy is in a virtual standstill and regional unemployment keeps growing, the time isn’t right to speak about fine-tuning,” Simson said in a press release.
"We need serious reforms and a government capable of carrying them out. While the Prime Minister may claim that there are 9,000 vacant jobs across Estonia, a view like this means giving one's nod to peripherization, because in order to get work one has to leave the area where one lives," Simson said.
The head of the Free Party’s parliamentary party, Andres Herkel, said the situation was alarming if one looked at the performance of the economy in the final quarter of 2015 and the low economic growth forecasts.
"Experts are speaking about a structural change in the Estonian economy, as a result of which hundreds of simpler jobs will disappear in Estonia. At the same time we don't see any smart jobs coming. It's completely unclear at the moment what the government intends to do for the creation of well-paid jobs all over Estonia," Herkel said.
Simson said that promoting economic development had to become the government's first priority. The authors of Wednesday’s joint interpellation write that it is time for the government to come up with an action plan setting out measures for the reduction of unemployment in Ida-Viru County, and plans for a potential economic crunch to come.
The opposition also want the Prime Minister's opinion on the actions of the Unemployment Insurance Fund related to the large-scale layoffs, and his opinions on potential changes to the Estonian tax environment.
Jaan Männik, spokesman for the Center Party’s parliamentary party, said that the Estonian Conservative People's Party (EKRE) had joined the interpellation also.