In his speech to the EKRE Congress on Saturday, former President Arnold Rüütel said the choice of a very liberal economic model in the 1990s has not justified itself in Estonia. The biggest challenge for the country now is to stop marginalization.
Rüütel did not attend the conference personally, but his speech was read aloud by the President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas.
He wrote after the adoption of the constitution in 1992, the government chose an ultra-liberal economic model for Estonia which, despite being bold, has not justified itself. So far, political scientists have not analyzed the feasibility of implementing other possible economic models for the Estonian state during the last 30 years, he said.
Rüütel also said he was pleased with the administrative reform in 2017.
"It is gratifying that we have a good and hard-working community which can analyze the developments of administrative reform. It must be agreed with them that so far we have only implemented the first phase of administrative reform. We have established the boundaries of local governments. The next stage is the reorganization of regional administrations. It is a pleasure to acknowledge that this is being done in a serious way. One of the biggest challenges will be to stop marginalization," Rüütel wrote.
"Compared to Europe and the world, we are a sparsely populated periphery country. Unfortunately, the decline of rural areas is a pan-European trend. But let us not be discouraged. We have been pioneers in several ventures before," Rüütel wrote.
He said Estonia is increasingly leaning towards the need for two administrative models, one for large cities and the other for rural municipalities with a declining population.
Rüütel said EKRE has done well as a party in the government party and the coalition formed in April 2019 was the right decision. He believes the leaders of the party have done a good job which is shown by EKRE's membership increasing by 125 people.
At the congress, EKRE will elect a new chairman to replace Mart Helme.
Editor: Helen Wright