Ratas: As long as Center in government, second pillar will not go anywhere
Prime Minister and Center Party leader Jüri Ratas said he does not support making the so-called second pillar of the Estonian pension scheme optional, in the case of the currently drafted pension reform failing to enter into law.
Ratas said: "Speaking of losing the second pillar, governments can certainly make that proposal to Riigikogu. If you are asking if this government, which also consists of Center, would propose losing the second pillar - the answer is no.
"It has come up in coalition meetings, and yes, we agree on making it optional, but if we are talking about drafting a new law of losing it completely, we have certainly not discussed it. If you are asking for my feel of the situation, our party definitely does not support losing the second pillar."
On Tuesday, Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) responded to a question from daily Õhtuleht (link in Estonian) on whether Supreme Court's decision would suspend pension reform.
Helme said: "If the Supreme Court comes out with a decision that would essentially thwart the reform, the next step politically is to liquidate the entire second [employer/employee contributions] pillar. There would not be anything voluntary about that. In one move, we would move all second pillar money to the first [state pension] pillar and that is that."
Isamaa party leader Helir-Valdor Seeder responded to Helme on Wednesday, saying that the EKRE leader's claims should not be taken seriously, all the more so because the idea was originally Seeder's.
He explained: "I came out with the initiative years ago. I will remind people that when I expressed it politely, it received no attention and when it came back a few years later, it was stated that it is one of Seeder's silly proposals which will not receive any party support. That's how it is. It was ignored for years."
Reform of the second pillar, which would make membership of the second pillar voluntary where it had been mandatory for most wage-earners since 2010, was a central plank of Seeder's party's election manifesto ahead of the March 2019 election.
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste