EKRE candidate minister Siem: Views of the party must be taken into account

Raul Siem
Raul Siem Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Raul Siem, nominated by the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) as the new candidate for the Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology, said on Monday he would primarily follow the party's guidelines in his future ministerial activities.

Speaking on ETV's morning show "Tervisioon" he said in response to a question about how much he thinks EKRE's leaders' opinions should be followed during decision-making processes: "We have to take into account that this is a political position and we have to take into account political orientations, cooperation with the party and the political group. That is right in this sense, yes."

Siem also said, unlike the three former ministers of IT and foreign trade who have all lasted less than year in the tole, he intends to remain in the ministry for a longer period.

"I think that if you do your job well, carefully, enthusiastically, according to your conscience, then I believe that everything will go well," he said.

Answering a question about migrant labor, Siem pointed out that there could soon be 100,000 unemployed people in Estonia and there are already people who have expressed a wish to go to work in agriculture, where there is currently a shortage of labor. The sector relies on migrant labor which has been temporarily halted during the crisis.

"Today's emergency situation will continue for a long time to come, with an estimated 100,000 unemployed. Maybe we have a huge number of very good start-up people. And I also have a lot of signals that people are happy to go to work in the agricultural sector. As for the issue of migrant workers, then I would rather simplify it - we would rather talk about labor," said Siem.

Speaking about state subsidies for companies, Siem said everyone who meets the criteria to receive support deserves support. "I think it is very arbitrary to start dealing with such issues as who does and who doesn't, need it," he said.

Asked if ride-railing, food delivery startup Bolt should receive state support, Siem replied, "If Bolt meets the criteria, of course." But did not say how much it should receive.

Discussing shipping company Tallink and whether the company's need for support should come from the state or the banks, Siem said: "It is difficult for me to say whether they should get it from the state or the market. It must be understood that we have to protect companies that are extremely important to the Estonian state and of great fiscal importance. So there are always different opportunities and we are working for that. "

Siem said, in his opinion, the world is changing rapidly today, and the foreign trade and exports sectors will not be in the same situation as they were two or three months ago.

"Everything is changing and at the moment everyone is looking for their place - where to position themselves in the chain. I believe that we have to do a lot of work today through Enterprise Estonia to find the most suitable place for Estonian companies as well."

Siem was nominated as the new candidate for the Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology on Friday. He will meet with President Kersti Kaljulaid in Kadriorg on Monday afternoon who should then appoint him to ministerial office. He will replace IT specialist Kaimar Karu who took office in November. Karu was not a member of EKRE, but Siem is.

Previously Siem has worked as an advisor to Mart Helme, Minister of the Interior and Chairman of EKRE.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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