Ratas: Government doing everything to ensure Estonia's security
In an end-of-the-year interview with daily Postimees, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said that he disagrees completely with criticisms expressed by President Kersti Kaljulaid, saying that the government — his second — is doing everything to ensure constitutional order and Estonia's security.
"If you ask what [my] main wish is, being prime minister and leading the government, it is to do good for Estonia and stand for the Estonian people," Ratas said. "I have never been someone who tries to hold onto their seat by all means or would elbow their way in, but it's also rue that when the supreme power has elected the Riigikogu, there is political competition in the Riigikogu, and through this, governments as well as oppositions are born."
The prime minister and Centre Party chairman said that he remembers how his own party was told for a decade that they were not suited for the government.
"Nevertheless, people continued to elect the Centre Party into compositions of the Riigikogu," he stressed. "I believe that excluding someone isn't right. This, perhaps, is my idea in Estonian politics — that you can't go very far robustly drawing red lines or excluding someone."
Ratas said, however, that while part of the government, he would never support Estonia's exit from the European Union.
"2019 is the year when Estonia was able to say that we have been in both the EU and NATO for 15 years," he highlighted. "We can say that these have been among the most successful years for us economically, but what's more important still is ensuring peace. Both international organizations have done so very well."
Ratas said that he doesn't agree with the president, who has said that the current government — which consists of the Centre Party, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) and Isamaa — poses a threat to Estonia's constitutional order and the security of the state.
"Today's government ensures constitutional order in Estonia and is doing everything in order for Estonia's security and protection to become stronger," he stressed, noting that the president is the beacon in Estonia who must do everything, no matter how difficult, to keep Estonian society together.
"Of course I respect the president, and she has the right to say what she considers right, but if we consider how Estonia has strengthened its positions in the international arena in 2019, all of that says something else," Ratas said. "Take becoming a member of the UN Security Council — a very strong achievement for the sake of which diplomats, the foreign service and many MPs made an effort. The president contributed to it as well."
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Editor: Aili Vahtla