Public Figures Call for Breaking Political Standstill
An initiative by 20 public figures was published today, calling for improving life in Estonia so that people are more keen on coming here than leaving, starting public discussions and also offering solutions in various areas.
The “good life” mentioned in the declaration includes, for example, the availability of health, good conditions for growing up and a favorable environment for developing natural talents and working, uudised.err.ee reported.
According to the initiators, Estonian politics have ground to a halt and the standstill prevents coming up with creative solutions to challenges faced by Estonia today.
The declaration lists what they consider to be the main problems plaguing Estonia, such as estrangement from politics and political parties, politicians’ lack of vision and reluctance to include the society in problem-solving. Other problems to tackle include the declining population, ensuring the welfare of the elderly, the endurance of Estonian culture, and joining these social aims with ecological sustainability.
The initiative proposes 10 principles for renewing Estonian politics, covering areas like education, regional policies, economy, welfare, integration and sustainability. Naming social solidarity as a prerequisite for economic progress, the declaration calls for a broader inclusion of society and switching to a more knowledge-based way of governing.
Proposals for efficient integration include making an exception for some stateless residents by dropping the language exam for elderly long-time residents who have been born here and paid taxes here. Citizenship should be offered to children born to permanent residents who are non-citizens, the declaration suggests.
Another specific proposal is changing the tax system to shift the tax burden to currently under-taxed capital and prevent multinational companies siphoning their profits abroad.
The authors of the declaration include a group of scholars, activists, journalists, and historians. Among the individuals taking part were journalist Andrei Hvostov, historians Marek Tamm and David Vseviov, academic and writer Rein Raud, actors Mari-Liis Lill and Ain Lutsepp, activist Brit Kerbo, and board member of the Institute of Baltic Studies Kristiina Kallas.
They call for spreading and discussing the declaration on social media and the press, and giving the group feedback on their suggestions.
The declaration was published today in Eesti Päevaleht, and is available (in Estonian or Russian) at their website; algatus.ee.