Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MP Anti Poolamets said that while Estonia had negotiated well with its debt share of the union's coronavirus recovery package – announced Monday at €1 billion – the union must not deprive Estonia of its tax sovereignty in the process.
Negotiations are not over yet, but I am glad that we are going with a very serious package...which I think will give us a much weightier position than those who simply say 'yes' and take a bow, as Estonia has often done," Poolamets said, speaking on ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" Monday night.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) told the Riigikogu Monday that Estonia's debt share in the European Union's joint loan, part of the union's coronavirus recovery package, will stand at €1 billion.
Poolamets also stressed his party's anti-federal Europe stance
"I would distinguish between Europe and the European Union. We are great friends of Europe, but we have not been in favor of a federal Europe, and we will certainly stand up to that," he said.
Given his Eurosceptic stance, interviewer Margus Saar asked about how EKRE came to support the European rescue package.
"EKRE has had a very important role to play here," he said.
"There were 13 points, or a damn dozen, as we call it, where we put the clauses, the conditions under which we would come on board. These are very important points because they protect Estonian tax sovereignty," he continued.
"We stress that Europe must not deprive us of our tax sovereignty. And more broadly, the messages there are that we do not agree with, and will not allow, further federalization with the EU."
Other important demands, he said, were coalition partner Isamaa's point that member states must be responsible for debt, rather than this being hidden behind "creative accounting", given Estonia's debt burden stands at a reported 8 percent of GDP compared with Greece's near 200 percent.
"Fortunately, there are also some limits on how much can be obtained from this package. But the negotiations are not over, so with these 13 points, I think Estonia will be taken seriously," Poolamets said.
Poolamets also said that his party has its own limits and red lines in office but it had not been forced to surrender these, though the EU and the European Commission had often walked on a knife edge with regard to tax sovereignty, in his view.
"For example, with regard to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM – established in 2012 after the Eurozone debt crisis starting in 2009-ed.), which was a much more federalist decision, but which was pushed through and where we had to pay real money to bail out countries that have gone bankrupt. This time, the big difference is that everyone is the beneficiary, we are not going to help the bankrupt countries separately, and Estonia will remain positive, at least according to its key points and plan - it (Estonia's debt liability in the latest rescue packege-ed.) should remain at one billion.
Editor: Andrew Whyte