Deputy chair of the Reform Party, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, says that a forthcoming coalition which did not contain the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) was worth something in and of itself. Pentus-Rosimannus' party is currently in talks with the Center Party to form the next coalition.
Appearing on ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Tuesday night, Pentus-Rosimannus said: "The first question is, is the birth of an EKRE-free government a good thing in itself? And we think it is, and is really a worth something in itself."
EKRE was in office with Center and Isamaa until Jüri Ratas (Center) resigned as prime minister, automatically sparking the end of the coalition. While Center is in talks with Reform, since the pairing have a majority 59 seats at the 101-seat Riigikogu, they can spare both Isamaa and EKRE. Reform had previously said it would not be in office with EKRE in any case.
Pentus-Rosimannus said that Reform did not have any battle-lines drawn which it would not surrender during its talks with Center under any circumstances.
She said: "There has been wisdom in the negotiations not to draw thick red lines, not to start negotiations with such a stance. I think this is needed, if there is a desire to have a consensus."
Oil shale sector to be consigned to history by 2040
The two parties, Reform led by Kaja Kallas, who will be prime minister assuming a coalition deal supported by most or all of the two parties' MPs is struck, Center headed by former education minister Mailis Reps, had ended day four of their talks Tuesday evening, with climate and the environment on the agenda that day.
The two parties have agreed to start winding down the oil shale sector, within the next 15-20 years, which Pentus-Rosimannus said hinted at a more environmentally-minded coalition waiting in the wings.
"While the previous government was a rather 'brown' government on climate and environmental issues in the field managed by EKRE (the party held the environment, foreign trade and rural affairs ministries – ed.), now it will clearly be 'green'," said Pentus-Rosimannus.
Pentus-Rosimannus said the talks were about half-way through as of Tuesday, and had so far been thorough despite pressure to get things squared away as soon as possible due to the pandemic.
"In general, the nascent government certainly has the ambition to be more than just a COVID-19 'peace' government, though this is also necessary," she said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte