Current Estonian presidential candidate Allar Jõks finds that Estonia must be open to immigration as the country is facing a labor shortage and is in need of a lot of specific labor.
Speaking on Vikerraadio radio broadcast "Reporteritund," Jõks said that in order to solve the demographic crisis facing the country, three topics needed to be considered — first growth, then values and finally migration.
"How to increase immigration — there are various issues involved: education, childcare, whether we are open or closed," he noted.
Jõks highlighted the fact that two thirds of immigrants to Estonia are Estonians, which was a positive trend, and that Estonia should not only call upon talents to return, but other people as well. Asked whether immigration opportunities should currently be significantly increased for non-Estonians as well, the presidential candidate replied in the affirmative.
"We must be open, because look at how great of a labor shortage we have; so much specific labor is needed that we do not have in Estonia," he explained.
On the subject of how Russian-speakers could better consider Estonia their homeland, Jõks said that of the people to leave Ida-Viru County, most are intelligent young adults who head elsewhere to continue their studies. In his opinion, what could help bridge the gap is more of the state and more entrepreneurship in Ida-Viru County.
"There should be a project for attracting business to Ida-Virumaa, for which specific ministers or ministries would be responsible and which would also bring with it the need for certain tax differences," Jõks believed. "If life, the standard of living get better there, then those people will begin to feel more like Estonians themselves as well."
Commenting on the fact that he has presented himself as a defender of civil society and yet as a lawyer attacked Kalaranna defender and civil society person of the year Teele Pehk, Jõks stated that a lawyer represents their client and equating clients with their lawyers was a dangerous and slippery slope.'
"Also, everyone in the Republic of Estonia has the right to judicial protection," he stressed.
Jõks added that in having represented civil society in a number of disputes as well as represented clients in cases against civil society, he has been given the opportunity to view the operation of the state from multiple sides, which is very important for a president.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik