Ratas: borders for migrant labor should be opened as soon as possible

Strawberries on sale at Tallinn's Balti Jaam Market
Strawberries on sale at Tallinn's Balti Jaam Market Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister and Chairman of Center Party, Jüri Ratas said on Äripäev's radio show "Kuum tool" that normalcy should be restored in terms of migrant labor as soon as possible and borders should be opened.

The Prime Minister said on the radio show (link in Estonian): "In essence, we haven't actually made any changes in terms of migrant labor. The coronavirus is still going, borders are closed. We are working on opening them as soon as possible."

He added: "The most important part in terms of migrant labor is that we could go back to normalcy and open our borders."

Ratas said he understands there is a problem in the horticultural sector, but specific steps have been taken. "Migrant workers are allowed to be in Estonia until July 31. Also, there was news on Thursday that there's a wage support measure."

ERR News wrote on Thursday that a €600,000 wage support measure for agricultural enterprises is about to be launched to help with the berry growing sector to hire people who have lost their job.

According to Ratas, it must be acknowledged that the unemployment rate has risen in Estonia. "I believe that Estonians will actually agree to turn to that sector to find work."

Migrant labor has been a heated topic of discussion for strawberry growers in particularly. Leaders of EKRE, Minister of the Interior Mart Helme and Minister of Finance Martin Helme have called strawberry growers slave owners and tax evaders.

Ratas does not think members of government have to agree on everything. "We have freedom of speech in Estonia. This is also true for politicians. That all 15 ministers would sing the same song, that wouldn't also be right. They're all different people, from different parties, from different ministries. And I think the plurality of opinions is the strength of this government."

Ratas called strawberry growers fine entrepreneurs.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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