Longtime Ida-Viru County Farmers' Union chairman Arvo Aller, who was named candidate for the next minister of rural affairs by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) on Friday, said that his first goal after being sworn in as minister is to restore peace at work. In a brief interview with ERR, Aller, who was unable to be reached by journalists for two days, admitted that information about his nomination reached the press too soon.
ERR: Is being the nominee for minister in a difficult situation accommodating the Estonian state for you?
Arvo Aller: This is a great responsibility for me, and I believe it's also one way to move forward at the Ministry of Rural Affairs and in rural affairs themselves.
ERR: When were you approached about becoming minister?
Aller: The first notice came after the secretary of state's report was published. That is when the first opportunity came up.
ERR: [EKRE chairman Mart Helme] said that you weighed it at length. Was that so?
Aller: Yes, that was so. Knowing the sector, and discussing it with people in the sector, I felt the support there. I felt that I have supporters, and I made the decision to run for minister of rural affairs.
ERR: A bit about your background, we know that you have led the Ida-Viru County Farmers' Union for a long time. But how have you reached the moment in which you currently stand?
Aller: I have always been involved in rural affairs and agriculture. I once joined the People's Union of Estonia (Rahvaliit), and was part of its local branch, which turned into EKRE years ago. I have kept an eye on politics from a distance there, and tried to be a help in the making of decisions.
ERR: The media spent two days looking for you — on Friday and Saturday. What were you doing during those two days?
Aller: I don't know what "missing" means. I was in Ida-Viru County. The Ida-Viru County Farmers' Union's 30th anniversary conference was held on Friday, and that lasted until evening. A 30th anniversary gathering was held that night. I had disengaged myself for this.
This happened a bit early for me, I'll say. Yes, my weekend was planned. It is the First Advent, and I had planned on some calmer time, and to be together with my family and finally discuss this matter.
ERR: Speaking with EKRE representatives, this info went public too soon. Is that so?
Aller: It was a little too soon for me, yes.
ERR: What lies ahead for you now? Probably meeting with the [EKRE] parliamentary group tomorrow? Talk a bit about the next few days. When will you know that you can officially sign?
Aller: Tomorrow, Monday, I'll be meeting with the parliamentary group. This will be followed by a meeting with the press. According to current info, the meeting with Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) is on Thursday.
ERR: The situation at the Ministry of Rural Affairs is so complicated right now. What are the first issues on which you will take the bull by the horns?
Aller: I first have to review what good the previous minister has done, and certainly move forward with that. And what matters have been back-burnered, take the best from there and move forward with them.
Of course, the priority will be restoring peace at work and moving forward, getting things in place within the ministry specifically.
ERR: Do you have a candidate for secretary general?
Aller: Not currently.
Editor: Aili Vahtla